Hope & Encouragement / Light & Laughter

Establishing Our Hearts

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Welcome to May. We’re 1/3 of the way through 2022. This year, although we’ve experienced some wins, 2022 has proven to have its own level of unpredictability and chaos. We thought we were on the verge of normalcy as the pandemic started to be less severe, but then the war in Ukraine happened. Subsequently, supply chains have become more volatile, with an impact that will last for years to come. Natural disasters continue to wreak havoc as inflation trends upward. Most recently, the word “recession” keeps coming up. More than likely, that’s where we are heading, as society wonders – how bad, and for how long. We can’t ignore the changes we’re feeling anymore. Even if we don’t know what’s causing it, we know that globally – something is amiss.

For many, it’s not just about what is happening on a macro level, but what’s taking place on a personal one too. The past couple of years have been filled with unexpected twists and turns, challenging those of us with even the deepest of faith. In our pain and struggle, there is an insatiable craving for “normalcy”, but this is a dream that will never be realized. The world itself has permanently changed. This isn’t the time to keep wishing for what has been; that is gone. Instead, it’s the time to find the courage to face what is and how we move forward.

Establishing Our Hearts

And if I think about how to prepare for the “forward” in my life, I’m reminded that we don’t get to determine the length of our seasons. Our actions can influence them in one direction or another but know that the seasons come when they come. They also end when they end. I cannot wait for a season to be over to begin the preparation of moving forward. If I wait in fear, I’ll never get to where I want to be. So, while waiting for seasons to change, what should I do? Well, in the waiting, James 5:7-8 admonishes us to establish our hearts. The scripture reads:

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

There is no better advice for the remainder of this year, than to establish our hearts. As we move closer to the coming of the Lord, seals will be broken, trumpets will sound, and bowls will pour out onto the Earth. God’s grace and His wrath will be made evident, whether or not God is acknowledged as the source. In this calamity, some hearts will harden towards God, while others will open up to His will and His Spirit. Let it be known that we are in unprecedented times, and these times will continue until the coming of the Lord.

Take Heed that No One Deceives You

In order for us to be sustained in Christ until the end, we must keep strengthening our connection with God. Nevertheless, I know that it’s not always easy to hold onto God when life shakes us to our core. In the midst of trying to heal or find comfort, we sometimes open ourselves up to what should remain closed. I believe this is why Jesus, in Matthew 24, started with a warning when the disciples asked Him about the signs of His coming.

In verse 4, Jesus said “Take heed that no one deceives you”. He then goes on to describe the beginnings of sorrows, after which He describes tribulation, betrayal, and martyrdom. Note that it is only after describing such heightened chaos, that Jesus again references deception. He states: “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (verse 11). It’s in the pain, struggle, and spiritual indifference, which is where we are today, that deception takes hold. We must be mindful, that as the temperatures of chaos rise, we make the conscious choice to proceed with caution.

If not, we run the risk of being misled, or making rash decisions outside of the will of God. Our emotions become a spiritual distraction when left unchecked. Fear, misinformation, and doubt consume us, as we drift away from the protection and presence of God. Instead, we are called to pray for wisdom and discernment – which is one way to establish our hearts in the waiting. This is our best chance against deception. There is no room for pride. We must maintain a spirit of humility and grace, knowing that it is God who keeps us afloat within these rough waters.

Holding Fast to God

So take the time to vet what you’re feeling and the information you’re hearing. Not all information is good Deception has always been at the heart of sin, and we only combat that problem by having a strong relationship with Christ. We need to be sure to take the time to vet what we’re feeling and the information we’re hearing. Not every person we meet has the best of intentions.  Not all information is good information. But more importantly, not every person who tries to lead you astray knows that they are being used by the devil. Sometimes, they fall due to their own weaknesses so have compassion on them, but don’t let their chaos into your house. Study the Bible and get to know God for yourself.

Facing “What Is”

As we reflect on this life, it’s been made clear that we don’t know what the future holds – no matter what anyone promises you. Yet if we believe that God is good, then we have to hold onto His goodness. In faith, we must trust His ways, even when life wants to pull us in another direction. It’s normal to desire comfort and safety, but we can’t let our temporary emotions win. We shouldn’t judge our circumstances too quickly. God is working on our behalf, even when we feel as though He is silent.

Us not seeing God move is no indication that He’s standing still. God doesn’t need for us to see that He is working, for Him to move on our behalf. Instead, He only asks for us to believe in Him, trusting that He’s got us covered, no matter how difficult the situation is. Nonetheless, to reach this point, knowing that God will move in our lives, requires us to face “what is”.

Only in acceptance can we sit in the discomfort while hearing God’s voice. We are able to deal with the burdens that weigh us down, the secrets we carry, and the flaws that cause us trouble. We also are better able to manage the stress of an unpredictable economy, the fear or actuality of war, and the increase in racial tensions. The chaos will continue, and at times with no reprieve. We’re closer to the end than we are the beginning, and that alone, is all the more reason to establish our hearts in Christ. He will carry us through these unpredictable times, and we will be victorious. That is a promise I pray we all hold onto, no matter how loud the darkness comes knocking.

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