Friday, June 3, 2016

Changing Emotions & Our Unchanging God

"But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil."
2 Thessalonians 3:3
(AKJV)

The gamut of human emotions is vastly wide.
It is amazing how you can go from the highest mountain to the lowest valley...
in just a matter of hours...or even minutes.


In the early morning hours of Monday, May 2nd, 
I heard my sister-in-law's voice on the voicemail of our phone.

"Cheryl, call me as soon as you can, honey.
It's an emergency."

Her voice was shaky.
I knew the news couldn't be good.

Quickly, I rallied to life and was soon wide-awake.
I dialed her number.
Nothing could have prepared me for what she said next.

"They found Vicki murdered in her apartment."

In that moment, everything changed.
I was near-speechless.
And, if you know me at all, you know that doesn't happen often.
I just could not absorb what was being said...what I was hearing.

It was one month yesterday since that dreadful phone call.
So much has happened in the meantime.
I know many of you are praying faithfully for my family and me,
and knowing that just means the world to all of us.
You will never know how much we appreciate you and every prayer and kindhearted deed.

If you have been following this story here, you will know that my precious niece, Victoria, was brutally and ruthlessly murdered, the security camera showed her killer walking out of her apartment with no apparent or outward remorse, then his decomposing body was found a few days later by some fishermen.
(You may read previous posts concerning this tragedy by clicking 

One of the details that I haven't shared here yet is that after Victoria's killer walked out of her apartment, as if nothing unusual had happened, he was picked up by someone who took him to church.
I was told he stayed there all day long, then left, and afterwards completely disappeared.
No one saw him again, until the fishermen found his body floating in the river.  

Connecting some of the dots by finding out he spent part of his missing time in church filled me with some very mixed emotions.
At first, it occurred to me that the man must truly have possessed a seared conscience in order
to be able to commit such a horrific crime in the first place, then to go and sit in the house of God,
surrounded by Godly worshipers, pretending all was well.
Who could do such a thing?
This type of behavior would just prove more than ever
that his heart was surely as an adamant stone.

But, then I got to wondering if possibly he may have gone to church for other reasons...
that perhaps he came to his senses, realized the awful thing he had done, and felt remorse deep enough that it drove him to his knees.
I can only hope that this was the case, and that somehow he made his peace with God,
because even though I am still fighting a fierce battle of trying to forgive him for taking her from us,
the amazing grace of God compels me to feel a deep sadness and concern over the plight of his eternal soul.

The thought of a soul...any soul...being lost for eternity is far beyond any other tragedy I can imagine.

Mystery surrounds his final details, and all we know for certain is that he died from drowning.

Did he jump off a bridge, intentionally taking his own life?
Did he accidentally fall in?
Did someone kill him, then dispose of him in the river?

God knows.
We probably never will.

As I hung up from that early morning phone call with my sister-in-law,
I was in such a state of shock, I could hardly think.
My emotions had plunged to about as low as they could possibly go.

Then, lo, and behold, just a few hours later, the emotional pendulum swung polar opposite, 
when we got another phone call with news so wonderful that we could hardly believe it was true.
Something we have been wanting to happen for a very long time was finally coming to fruition,
and God was answering our intercessory prayers in a huge way.

Our emotions traveled the full possible gamut that day, exactly one month and one day ago.

I have thought much about this fact over the course of the past month.
The emotional roller coaster upon which I have been riding has had me rising with exhilaration one minute, then plunging to near-despair the next, only to repeat the process regularly.

But, through all of my ups and downs and highs and lows, one thing has been continually evident.
God is consistent.
He does not change.
He is not affected by our ups and downs nor our highs and lows.
Jesus Christ truly IS the same...yesterday, today, and forever,
regardless what we may be experiencing in this life.

The tide of human emotions is fickle.
We are often driven and tossed by what is going on around us.
We were created to feel and with certain inherent response-mechanisms.
When we are sad, tears are triggered...
when we feel happy, smiles are automatic...
when we're worried, we frown.
And, when we are heartbroken, there is a deep ache within.

Since God created us, He understands,
and, since He actually came to us, in a body of flesh and lived the full gamut of life as a human for over 33 years, He knows firsthand what every emotion feels like.

I love the way He felt every, single thing we will ever feel,
yet, He didn't allow any of those human emotions to alter Him from His intended purpose.

One of the most distinct examples of this is His reaction to the contrasting ways He was treated/mistreated from the time of His Triumphal Entry to His scourging and crucifixion...
only one week apart.

One week, the crowds were praising Him, exalting Him, throwing palm branches in His path, crying, "Hosanna, in the highest", and the very next week, their cries had turned to, "Crucify Him!"
Worship quickly turned to cruel war waged against Him.

Again, how fickle the tide of human emotions!

Regardless what was happening around Him or being directed towards Him, be it adoration or abuse,
Jesus was unfaltering in His resolve.
He came to seek and to save the lost, and nothing,
from the highest praises of men to being degraded to dying the most cruel death known to man,
could keep Him from pressing forward to fulfilling the mission for which He was sent.

Oh, to be more like Him!
To stay consistent in my resolve to do His will!
To press forward toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,
no matter what is happening in this life!

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13,14

Human emotions are so transient.
He is unchanging.

Thinking of our recent tumultuous roller-coaster ride brings this song to my mind.

He's My Guide
Words and Music by Sonya Isaacs

From the highest mountain,
To the lowest valley,
I do not fear, for He is walkin' by my side;
When the sun is shining,
When the shadows creep in,
I trust the Lord, He's good, He's faithful, He's my guide.



If video doesn't load, click here.

Whether we are on the peak of the highest mountain...spiritually, emotionally, and/or physically,
or whether we are in the lowest valley,
whether we are at the top of the roller coaster and life is exhilarating and good,
or everything familiar to us has taken a downward spiral to the point of utter despair,
God is faithful.
He is constant.
He is unchanging.
He's my guide.
He leads out of the darkness, when it seems all hope is lost.
He leads beside still waters when our souls cry out for restoration.
He always knows what we need the most, and He is faithful to provide.
Everything in this life is subject to change.
Nothing is sure.
We dare not place our trust in any mortal person or thing.

These songs have been a true comfort to me lately.
I hope they will bless you, too.



If video doesn't load, click here.



If video doesn't load, click here.

How are you, my friend?
Do you also find yourself on a roller-coaster of emotions?
Do you wonder if things will ever again be level in your life?
Are you completely overwhelmed by an onslaught of trials?

Let me remind you of the words of our Lord Jesus in one of my favorite verses,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. 
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

He is with us, dear friends.
No matter what we face.
No matter where we find ourselves in this life.
He is ever near.

"Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?"
Jeremiah 23:23

"That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, 
though He be not far from every one of us..."
Acts 17:27

God hold you ever close and bless each one of you, dear readers.
Your continued prayers are so appreciated!

31 comments:

  1. Amen and Amen! Thank you for writing something I needed to hear today Cheryl.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. And, thank you for reading, dear friend! It is always a wonderful joy and encouragement to see that you have stopped by. Sending you love and gratitude and many blessings!

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  2. Such truth. Ah I needed to read this, especially with all that's happened regarding my friend's illness and my return to Uganda this month.... Thank you for reminding me of God's steadfast character, Mrs. Cheryl.

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    1. Thank you, dear Hannah, for stopping by and for leaving such sweet encouragement here. I have been praying for you and trusting you are safe in Uganda by now. Love and appreciate you and your life for God!

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  3. bless you dear sis, prayers continue

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear, precious friend. I am praying for you, too, and believing God to heal your toe. Love and appreciate you so much!

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  4. All we can do during the ups and downs of life is to hold tight to Jesus - he will see us through. I feel for you my friend, everything is so fresh and raw as yet and I cannot for a moment imagine what you and your extended family are going through. Just hold on tight to the one who loves you and know he will see you all through it.

    Diana

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Diana, for your precious words of comfort. They meant the world to me. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  5. I'm praying for your family and you, Cheryl. I can't even begin to imagine. Each second can bring a new twist and turn, and it's only the knowing of where we spend eternity and Who we spend eternity with that can bring us peace in this flesh.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Thank you so very much for your faithful prayers, friendship, and support to us, dear brother. God bless you abundantly. I hope all is well with you and your family.

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  6. Wonderful heart-felt post, Cheryl. Thank you.

    No matter what happens in our lives; He is there beside us. Only a prayer away. Ready to help and console.

    Peace be with you, my friend. Praying for you all. God bless.

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    1. Thank you, dear Victor. Your friendship and encouragement are precious gifts to us. Thank you for every time you have encouraged and blessed our hearts. God bless you abundantly in return.

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  7. Cheryl, I was not aware of your niece's violent death. I cannot imagine, as I love my nieces so very much. I'm sure the emptiness will always remain, but how faithful is our God. With the low points, He gives us strength to move forward. I'm glad you've had some happy news to mix in with all of the sad.

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    1. Thank you, sweet Dayle. Your visit and words have brought much comfort and peace. Sending you much love and gratitude.

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  8. Cheryl, Be it any consolation, I too have experienced not once but twice a phone call being informed about the murder of several dear people to my family. One was my mothers best friend and her husband who were brutally murdered by their own grandson. I remember when my dad breathlessly spoke the words to me, I had to sit down. I could not wrap my head around what He said. Yet in that instance, knowing and hearing about the grandson, my mom's friend's joy, I could not help but feel compassion for a drug addiction that led him to do such a heinous act and then take his own life. My mind whirled as the details surfaced of what it must have been like for my mom's friend to face her own grandson in such a horrific state. It all seemed like such a waste. This boy, who was so lost, driven to do such a horrible act and now all of them, lost for eternity. You are right, it is upsetting to think of anyone being lost for all eternity.

    My mom endured another dear friend, my brother's godmother, who was murdered as well. In this case, a boyfriend who had psychiatric issues. Again, so much hurt and pain and brokeness in this world that would lead to such a desperate act.

    Oh how much people need Jesus.

    Cheryl, your kind and compassionate heart brings such Glory to our Heavenly Father. I continue to lift all of you in prayer, sharing in your joy through the highs and weeping with you through the lows. Knowing our Heavenly Father will bless your obedience in every way.

    Blessings sweet friend.

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    1. Oh, dear friend! That is just horrible to think of all you have been through! Bless your dear heart...I am SO sorry to hear all of this. You will never know how much I love and appreciate you and your faithful support and encouragement. Sending you much love in return!

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  9. My heart breaks for your loss - and your response - the redemptive over-coming of faith in Christ through this is an inspiring testimony. Praying that through this tragedy, only things of God remain and grow. Praying for peace and healing.

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    1. Oh, thank you ever so much, sweet friend. Your kind words and loving heart are so appreciated. I do trust all is well with you, and you are recovered from your operation. God bless you abundantly for being so dear.

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  10. There are so many untold stories, and the reasons why are often unknown to us. Why do people do such horrid things and then perhaps repent? (we hope he did) Continual mulling over a tragedy will keep us tense and stressed out. One of my family members is in a bad spot being wrongfully accused and arrested as the police side with the accuser. God is our vindicator and we must trust him that the outcome will be peace and sanctity. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Oh, my, I am SO sorry to hear of your family member's ordeal! I do trust all will work out for their good and that God will allow the truth to be revealed. God bless you, dear Hazel.

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  11. A rollercoaster ride for you for sure! Oh I can't even imagine the horror of the moment of learning of your niece's death and then later such wonderful news! Highs and lows in our emotions, but you are so right, having faith in the Lord is the stabilizer in our life when all else seems out of whack!!! Continuing to pray and hold your precious family up to the Lord through these times you are in! Much love to you dear friend!!

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    1. Thank you ever so much, precious friend. Yes, our faith is surely our stabilizer when all around us is falling apart. It reminds me of the song, "When all around in this cold, dark land, nothing encourages me to stand, Jesus says holding me by the hand, come closer, My child, to Me." He surely wants to draw us closer through our trials. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  12. My gosh what a stunning post, and yet I deeply grieve for you for the loss of your niece to such a horrific crime. Your words about emotional swings ring so true, we've been facing spiritual attacks and jeolusies by certain people not good for our family, while celebrating some wonderful times as my son graduates high school and finishes his last theater performances. But I've been swayed by the negative emotions from the attacks, your words are soothing and so true, God is our constant in the storms of emotions. Blessings and prayerto you and your family during this time of grief. Thank you for this post it touches me deeply. From next door at #testimonytuesday

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Kathy, for your precious visit and comforting words. It has been such a blessing and encouragement to me. I am SO sorry you are going through this awful ordeal of your own...oh, may the dear Lord just work it all out for you and heal every wound and hurt. I am so grateful for your visit. May God just bless you abundantly.

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  13. Cheryl, Oh my . My heart and prayers are with you and your family. Only God can give comfort and understanding at a time like this. As for the murderer, that would be so hard to have compassion for him..
    You will never believe how similar our lives are concerning this. My niece, was named Victoria and we called her Vickie. 5 yrs ago, she was murdered and left in the woods. Her remains [or what was left of them] were found by some college students/teacher.. They were
    doing some kind of school stuff and were in the woods.. Her murderer has never been found.
    She was 40 yrs old. It has been so very hard for my sister. And the not knowing is so hard, but I know , knowing hurts just as bad. Only God helps us through..
    Please tell your niece's mom and day, I will be praying for them and all of the family.
    Hugs and prayers your way.

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  14. Hi Cheryl. I have been on an emotional roller coaster for ages now. One minute this way, the next minute, the other way! But i am truly grateful that through it all, God remains constant. I am so grateful that His faithfulness is not dependent on my behaviour or my faithfulness because i fail Him and myself every single day. I am so grateful too, that His mercies are new every morning! Those emotions really can grip a person and trying to get the pendulum to stay centred and grounded is really tough some days. But our God is faithful and constant! Thank goodness, Thank the Lord!!
    God bless
    Tracy

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  15. My adorable Cheryl, I wonder how can you find the strenght to go on after the big, so big pain which hit you and your family ... God is truly faithful !

    Hope your week is off to a good start I wish you beautiful days to come, sending you blessings across the many miles

    Xx Dany

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  16. Cheryl, I'm so sorry to hear about your niece. How horrible that must have been for your family. Emotions are so fickle, which is why it's so dangerous for us to follow them! I love that through all of the trauma, the ups and the downs, that you rest in the fact of who God is. That Jesus never changes- that truth is truly what gives us peace, isn't it? Praying for your family today. Neighbors with you at Thought Provoking Thursday.

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  17. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your heart with us here at Tell me a Story. I do hope you enjoyed your dinner with shorty-bear and she is a lovely lady. It is wonderful to be able to put a face to names at times.

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  18. This is a hard thing to get passed, isn't it Cheryl? I can just imagine how I would feel if it was my family member. I continue to pray for you, my friend. May each day bring more comfort and strength. I love your sensitive heart. It's the way God created you and I see Jesus in you. Hugs & prayers.

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  19. I just now got a chance to read this. The timing was perfect, and it was just what I needed. God is always the same! Thank you, Cheryl!
    Love you!

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