Shaken? Maybe just stirred.

Imagine your life is, for the moment, a container filled with nitroglycerine.  Weird, eh?  But hear me out (or, rather, read me out).  This substance is one that can explode when subjected to heat, flame, or even a nonconsequential jolt.  In the right conditions, the slightest bump can cause an explosion so intense that it damages whatever happens to be close.

The Problem

Our actual lives may not be regularly subjected to flame or heat, per se.  However, we may encounter many bumps in life–speed bumps, acne bumps, baby bumps, fist bumps.  Each of those can affect us in so many ways–both positive and negative.  Some of these bumps can shake us to the core.  The pressure builds, and we can become a human explosion of emotions–damaging those around us.

This type of thing happens to most all of us at some point in our lives.  I remember a point during high school where it seemed like all kinds of obstacles were mounting up around me.  The pressure was building up so fast that one of my best friends noticed.  He asked me, somewhat annoyed, “What’s your problem today?”

I was surprised at the response to his question–that an explosion took the form of words, and aimed damage directly at him, the concerned friend.  I was even more surprised that they were coming from ME: “YOU ARE!”  All he did was ask a question, and I couldn’t control the explosion that came out.  He shook the bottle a little too much–but he thought my container was water, not nitroglycerin.  The sad thing was that my words shook him.  It caused a chain reaction and led to his own explosion directed, intentionally, at me.  I don’t remember all he called me, but it wasn’t pretty!

Looking at this confrontation from both sides, it’s easy to see that while we were both explosive, one deserved the words more than the other (looks in the mirror).  But, the point is not the fault, but how each of us handled the unseen pressures.  How many of you have experienced either side of this type of exchange?  It’s not fun.  It can affect relationships immediately and for some time afterward.  The incident happened over 20 years ago, but I still remember.

The Solution

A friend sent me a verse today that reminded me of this exchange.  It is from Psalm 62:2.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:2 NLT)

Of course, “He” is God.  When everything happened in high school, I was not rooted in the Bible at all.  I did not rely on God for much besides blessing my food at every meal.  I wasn’t really in church, but I wouldn’t say that I was against God (Paul would argue with me there).  But now, I have Him in my life.  As long as I seek refuge in Him and not anywhere else, I will never be shaken.

I need this in my life today.  It doesn’t take much effort to forget about verses like this when I’m so busy taken care of work, music, lessons, family, and all the other bumps that come up in life.  If I don’t think about Psalm 62:2, I may forget that God transforms me from a bottle of nitroglycerin to one of honey. A jar of honey stays sweet.  Adding heat to a bottle of honey makes it flow more freely, but doesn’t cause it to explode.  Even if something vigorously shakes that jar, the consistency is the same.  A bit of honey can be stirred into drinks, food, or cough remedies to make things better, not worse.

Remember this, my brothers and sisters.  He alone can be your strong tower, your fortress.  Rely on him more to keep explosions down to a minimum.  To those who have witnessed me as a shaken vessel, I apologize.  And if you remind me of Psalm 62:2, I promise that God will turn me around again and point to Him.

 

Did this message speak to you?  His word spoke to me!  I used part of this post in a sermon.  You can see it, slides and all, here.

 

Speaking of shaken…

This song has been going through my head all day!  It is by a band called Building 429.  You should check this out.  You are not alone!

Please comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Shaken? Maybe just stirred.

  1. Yes, Raph!!! So timely a message. I feel like the whole *world* is a bottle of nitroglycerin that’s about to explode. At home, we’ve been talking about it…about how it seems like you can’t have any sort of discussion anymore without an explosion, and it makes us all want to stay home and hide away. That’s how it is to be a light in a dark world, though, and the world is just getting darker. Thank God for His patience with us, and His Spirit to bear fruit in us, that though we might be shaken, we will not be destroyed nor hurt others who need to see the light of Christ in us. I’ve been on the other side before, as well, even knowing and being known by Christ (to my shame)… None of us are immune. But we continue to grow in His grace and He *will* make us into His image more and more every day. Nowhere to go but up.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Dana. There is truly nowhere to go but up. Even in our highest times in life, there is still a way to get closer to God–His ways, His promise, His joy, and His presence. I didn’t even think to apply this to the volatile social media that exists all the time. There doesn’t seem to be a day to go by without some explosive, divisive, conflict where each side is so steadfast that there is little sense of seeing other views with love. I think I may have to share this on social media now!

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