He pointed toward the pass.
"It doesn't feel like it," I said.
Then I turned and said, "This feels like south."
Jim said, "No. That's east."
Then he pointed up the bay where we live and said, "Cheri, just think about it. This is north."
Once again I said, "But it doesn't feel that way."
Later in the day, even as I saw the sun setting in the west, my bearings were still lost.
I was standing in a very familiar place. This area has been home for most of my life.
But now I was standing seven stories high. With the panoramic view, my perception had changed.
Seth, hearing my constant "it doesn't feel that way" walked out on the balcony with his iPhone and pulled up a compass.
He moved his phone around slowly, until the needle remained still, and then he pointed out features on the landscape to mark what was exactly north, south, east and west. The features included a building, a channel marker, a group of trees and a water tower.
My feelings, which had been confusing to me, began to come in line with the truth the compass was showing me.
Standing on the same balcony a few days later, I saw the references that marked north, south, east and west. I knew where I stood in relation to all that was around me.
I knew what was true, what was constant, but it still didn't feel like south was south, that east was east, that north was north, and that west was west.
Sounds foolish, doesn't it?
But I've been foolish many times before.
"Help me to honor thee by believing before I feel,
for great is the sin if I make feeling a cause of faith."
from The Valley of Vision
from The Valley of Vision
I find myself in familiar places, but my perception is always changing. Changing sometimes because of loss, disappointment, or fear. Sometimes my perception changes because of something simple like fatigue.
I am foolish when I feel like my life is out of control, when Truth tells me that Jesus holds all things together by the word of His power, and that He has hemmed me in behind and before (Hebrews 1:3; Psalm 139:5). The Truth tells me that God has plans for me, and that they are good and He can do anything, and no one can stop Him (Jeremiah 29:11; Job 42:2).
I am foolish when I think my broken heart will never be healed, when Truth tells me that His mercies are new every morning and I will not be consumed, and His compassion never fails (Lamentations 3:22-23). I'm foolish when I forget that He has promised, when I cry and my bed is wet with tears, that He hears me and He will receive my prayers (Psalm 6:6-9). I'm foolish when I forget that God has told me He sees each tear I cry and He puts them in a bottle, and that even though I cry all night, joy is going to come one morning (Psalm 56:8; Psalm 30:5). I am foolish when I forget that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3).
I am foolish when I think I can't do it anymore: that life is just too hard. Doesn't Truth tell me that I can do all things through Christ Jesus, and that He loves to show His strength in weakness (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9)?
I am foolish when I think I've just messed up too badly, that I've sinned too much, when Truth tells me that there is nothing that will separate me from the love of God ( Romans 8:38-39). I am foolish when I forget that God has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west, and that He has nailed them to the cross with His Son, and that in His sight they are gone forever (Psalm 103:12; Colossians 2:14). I am foolish when I forget that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
I am foolish when I feel forsaken, when Truth tells me that God will never leave me (Hebrews 13:5). It is foolish of me to think God would leave me, when He gave up his precious Son for me (Romans 8:32).
I am foolish when I think the enemy has won, when Truth tells me that through Jesus I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). I am foolish when I forget that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, disarmed the enemy and exposed him for what he is (Colossians 2:15).
I am foolish when I feel like I am being run-over time and time again, and I don't believe that I can get up, when the Truth tells me that I can tell the enemy not to rejoice just yet because I will rise. And when all I see is darkness, Jesus will be my light (Micah 7:8).
"Our feelings have no intelligence."
My feelings will change, but there is Truth for every feeling.
My feelings will lie to me, but there is Truth for every lie.
And the Word of the Lord will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).
Oh God, may my faith in your Truth, as was shown in your Son Jesus Christ, be as visible and constant as your sun that will forever set in the west.