We live in a society that is often compared to a hamster wheel. Everybody’s running on that thing and getting nowhere. Even after expending tons of precious energy, a person is left stuck in a cage, absolutely spent.
I don’t live that way. Not because I wouldn’t if I could, but because frantic racing is a bit beyond a woman who spends eleven hours a night in bed, and nine or ten hours the following day resting in a recliner or a comfy chair. Nope. Borderline impossible.
That said, however, the hamster-wheel pace can be just as frenetically lived out by the sedentary as well as the active if their hearts are unsettled. Even a health-inhibited inactive person, who allows anxiety to exercise dominion over peace, can have a life every bit as frantic as her healthy, energetic neighbor. (And that stress? Boy, that’ll do you in every time!) Likewise, an active go-getter, who keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus, can live an extremely peaceful existence.
The true difference is not the outward activity, it’s the inward heart. And, great gravy!, I have certainly had my experiences of wrestling with the tortures of a worried heart! I shudder to think of my attitude then, but when I had my initial onset of ME/CFS, I certainly got perturbed. (When I had enough energy to accomplish this feat!) I struggled to believe that I, who obviously had so much to offer my little world, would be rendered so incapacitated!
Over the years, however, I have learned what it means to “keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith” (Hebrews 12:2). I have found that if I stay my course, I am more victorious in my littleness than I would have been had God allowed me to continue in my large-lived willfulness.
And do you know what else I have found? I have found peace, not as the world filled with all sorts of medical knowledge has to offer, but a peace that causes my heart to not be troubled nor fearful. (See John 14:27.) A peace based on the understanding that God, whose very character is lovingkindess and compassion, cares tenderly about every aspect of my life. And how sweet is the peace that is based on the goodness of the Lord.
Oh, sure, the enemy likes to come along and rock my boat. At the beginning I chased doctor after doctor to no avail…especially as medical research has yet to offer hope to the ME/CFS patient. It was at that point that I determined to not be as the lady with the “issue of blood” (Matthew 9:20), who had spent all her money on doctors, yet still was unwell and unclean. I wanted to be as she was in the story when she desperately reached out to Jesus in faith. I realized that God, who knew all my struggles, would meet me and minister to me simply because I was His darling daughter. I chose to allow Him to work out His perfect plan in me regardless of the cost to my health, my pride, or my acceptance by society. This became my free-will offering.
Even a month ago, when I went to the doctors for the first time in years to check some new symptoms, that niggling fear came back. Was I doing everything I ought? Was this disease, indeed, to be taken as lightly as they presumed? Where should I go next? What should I do? Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn’t just fear but anger. And both needed to be dealt with. Anger and fear left free to roam in a Christian’s mind will be her undoing. Never, ever doubt that!
So I remembered what my training had instilled in me: put to death the fleshly attitude, stop being intimidated by the waves, and focus back on the compassionate and victorious face of my King and Savior, Jesus.
And do you know what happened next? The voice of the enemy stammered and stuttered! Where was his confident mocking and jeering? Although my circumstances hadn’t discernable changed, I wasn’t the one vanquished! As a matter of fact, because my heart and hand was wholly entrusted to Jesus, I was the one who was “more than a conqueror!” In that moment, I knew that my small action of trust had brought true delight to my eternal Beloved. Though I didn’t see it with my outward eyes, my heart knows He smiled. 🙂
This is where my revolving door analogy comes in (since you were probably wondering!). Every time I stay my course and simply push through, I am compelled from peace to victory to delighting God’s heart, which brings me back to peace again. Then, of course, I go on to victory to delighting God’s heart. And my joyful little world revolves around His anchoring of my life.
Some may think my life looks like little more than that of a hamster: a small life existing in a small world, with nothing more than a wheel to keep me occupied. If I believed that, I would perish. However, each opening in my revolving door offers an exceedingly more stunning view of God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness. Every vista that befalls my eyes is more gorgeous than the one before. A life filled with such serene beauty towers above that hamster wheel of frantic activity. Such a breathtaking panorama can only result from God’s magnificent revolving door of peace.
“By this I know that Thou art pleased with me, because my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.” Psalm 41:11