When You’re Shaken

by Caroline Saunders

when-youre-shaken


As I drive around, the world seems peaceful: the shining sun, the green trees, the orderly stop-and-go of cars, the drivers’ mindless obedience to the traffic lights’ color commands. But the outside orderliness does not match my shaken insides. The outsides are certain and sure: green means go, red means stop. But inside, I don’t know what anything means. What once felt solid now seems broken; what once seemed like a period is now a question mark.

No one at the grocery store knows I am shaken. The list in my hand is clear, my feet instinctively know every aisle, and my mouth still remembers how to smile at the cashier. My fingers still know how to punch in my pen number, and I’m back in the car again, aware that the internal war of uncertainty sounds louder when my body is still.

I’ve spent my life chasing certainty, stability—“everything will be fine when ___”—but three decades of filling in the blank have proved fruitless. “Almost there,” I think, and then a violent left turn. “If I try a little bit harder,” I theorize, and then a new bill arrives in the mailbox.

Money, achievements, relationships—all of it is uncertain. When we stick them in the blank, when we press our hope into them, they fold in on themselves like a broken lawn chair or just slowly pull us off our path, like a float in the ocean.

But words of certainty found their way into my uncertain heart the other day, in a song I’ve sung a million times: “But God, who calls me here below, will be forever mine.”

“Forever mine” are words of stability. “Forever mine” are words of solid footing. “Forever mine” are the words we should scribble on the bottom of our shoes so that we walk with certainty, even as the world crumbles beneath us. It’s strangely similar to my seventh grade memory of a friend writing test answers on the bottom of her flip flops—we can stand on the answer to every question life throws at us: “God will be forever mine.”

Life’s questions may rattle us, but His hands don’t shake. He’s so unlike us, isn’t He? “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8. The unchanging One—so steady, so sure, so solid. We’re prone to aimless wandering, but He anchors our souls (Hebrews 6:19).

If His gospel has saved us, why should the earth shake us? Will that same gospel not follow us wherever we go? Are there places where Jesus’ blood is no longer redemptive? Certainly not—we are forever secure because we are forever His! If He’s pledged himself to us forever, if He’s etched our names in His hands (Isaiah 49:16), the same hands that hold the whole earth together (Colossians 1:17), why should we be shaken?

So while the children keep growing, as the days slip through our fingers, when life uproots us, if we find ourselves distant from those with whom we were once so close—God will be forever ours. We press our hope into the promise, we borrow his steadiness, we sink our heels into it, and on it, we stand: unshakable.

Caroline Saunders

CarolineSaunders

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