“And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47, NKJV
Each of our souls is a great magnifier. Like a magnifying glass, it makes everything we look at appear LARGER! It can magnify the Lord, but it can also magnify our problems. Our souls can rest in hope, or become depressed and agitated, convinced that everything is falling apart. Our souls are like little children in the back seat of a car on the long journey of life, constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” or, “How much longer?” or, “I’m tired!” And since we are all traveling with others on this journey, just like in the back seat of our parents’ car, we can fire off these accusations: “He hit me!” “Don’t touch me!” Then, as we all did when we were on those long car trips, we eventually call for help: “Dad, tell my brother to stop touching me!” “Tell my sister to leave me alone!” Oh, the joy of the journey. . .
Like the immature impatience of a child, our souls are not prepared to travel with God into our future. Patience may be a virtue, but it isn’t what we’re initially looking for. No. We want answers; we want resolution; we want change. But change takes time; resolutions are overrated; and answers rarely suffice. What we REALLY want is Jesus, and a new experience with Him, but we don’t seem to yet recognize this. Remember our parents would say, “You’re hungry; that’s why you’re so cross.” Or maybe, “You’re tired, that’s why everything is so hard right now.” And I am sure you retorted back, like I did so many times, “I’m not hungry and I’m not tired!” But we ARE hungry and we ARE tired. So, how do we agree with God when we are cross, cranky, and depleted in our souls?
We can start by recognizing our soul’s depression and agitation. We think we need answers now, resolution today, and change immediately. Our souls can scream quite loudly, and may not initially be that easy to re-direct. The reality we have known is that time, delay, and hope deferred has made our hearts sick (Proverbs 13:12).
However, by honestly bringing our souls to God and recognizing their agitated or withered state, we redirect our souls to the hope we once had been given. Hope comes from the promises the Lord made to us, both inside the Holy Spirit and in His Word.
God is good. His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). He has fully, unreservedly commit Himself to us with His words so that He can impart His nature to us and lead us out of the corruption that’s in this world through its fear and lust (2 Peter 1:4). But a soul in sorrow, depression, or angst can’t deliver itself. It’s a magnifier, not an originator. It needs something to focus on. It needs to hope in God. It needs Jesus. This is where we must turn to the Lord with an honest heart, share our state, then accept His words as truth, His words as sure, and His hope as living.
Hope is an anchor for our souls. Hope gives us strength, comfort, and brings our souls into the Presence behind the veil where Jesus, our forerunner, lives. Here, our souls can feed on His faithfulness and magnify His goodness. Here, God gives life to the dead and calls things that do not exist as though they do; because with Him, they already do exist! (Rom 4:17).
The problem for me is that I have to disengage my soul from its obsession with whatever is causing its distress. I have to turn it back to the Lord and His Word. I have to drag it out of its complaint and turn it back in thanksgiving to God for His goodness and faithfulness! Sometimes, my soul responds immediately, like a re-directed little child. But sometimes, it becomes stubborn and refuses, arguing with me that what I am pointing it toward doesn’t help, isn’t helping, or not working.
If that’s the case, it’s time for a “time out”! Then, I let my soul sit until it re-submits to God’s truth. As Jesus said, we are to possess our souls with patience (Lk 21:19). And the end of faith, as Peter said, is the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). As I become quiet, my soul quiets; then I can re-direct it toward the Lord, toward His promises, and toward His hope.
Psalm 131: 2, 3: “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.”
With patience, we can learn to turn our souls to the Lord and magnify Him. Here in His Presence, our souls become quiet, humble, and content. Now, we can re-engage in the journey of life, with hope anchoring our souls to Jesus in the Presence behind the veil. Until the next delay…Then, “Are we there yet?”