Disorientation can be humorous. I mean, how many jokes get told on men because they become lost, but refuse to stop and ask for directions? Disorientation, however, can be much more serious than that.
Airplane pilots are trained to deal with something in the aviation world called spatial disorientation. A pilot will tell you that it begins when a queasy knot settles in the pit of your stomach. Then panic's clammy fingers take hold of your throat. They say that’s what it feels like to look at the instrument panel of an airplane, flying in heavy fog or clouds, with extreme limited visibility, and realize you literally have no idea which way is up.
You're not sure which way to turn to level the wings. You're not even sure whether you are diving or climbing.It's spatial disorientation. Pilots train for this sort of thing, and they are taught to read and rely upon their instruments even when the mind and body disagree with what the eyes are seeing on the instrument panel. This is spatial disorientation.
From a physiological standpoint, disorientation is an altered mental state. A person who’s disoriented may not know their location and identity, or the time and date.
Many of us, perhaps most of us, have become emotionally disoriented because of the pandemic. Our traditions have been disrupted, our healthy habits disturbed, our workplaces completely turned inside out.
Being disoriented has taken its toll on you. How do we deal with all of this?
In Matthew chapter 14, we read about the disciples as they are caught in a storm in the middle of the sea. (Read the account in verses 22 through 33.) What can we learn from the disciples encounter with Jesus on that stormy night in regards to our own disorientation?
Sometimes Jesus directs us into the storm. Have you wrapped your mind around the fact that God has directed you into the pandemic storm? Why has He done such a thing? God uses the difficulties that we go through to shape us into His image, remind us of our need for Him, and to show us who He truly is.
Sometimes we feel assaulted by the storm. The disciples are a long way from land struggling against a powerful wind and pelting rain. After eight or nine exhausting hours, the disciples were stuck in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, sweaty, drenched, chilled to the bone, weary to the point that they began to wonder if they would ever make it to shore alive. At this moment it would have been much easier to turn and go back to shore. But by them sticking to it, by them continuing to row toward the other side, you and I can learn something here: Moving forward in obedience is always better than retreating in disobedience.
Sometimes we feel the darkness has won. But the very things that have disoriented you, that have caused you pain and disappointment, are in complete submission to Him. Whatever disorientation this storm of pandemic has done to you, it’s good for us to recall that He still has power over it.
Sometimes we still doubt the sustaining power of Jesus. Jesus can and will sustain you in the midst of all you’re going through. Look, here on earth, your faith and mine will never be perfect, and at times you will doubt, but you have to remember that God is working all things for your good and He sovereignly is in control over all you go through.
Sometimes the storms have the potential to open our eyes to the power of God. Peter got to see and experience the power of Jesus as he walked in the storm. Jesus allows us to go through storms in order to expose where our faith in Him is weak. He then strengthens our faith by showing us who He is. The promise is not that the storm will stop, but that your eyes will be opened to the power of God.
The rescuing hand of Jesus is always close by.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27, NASB)
This story of Peter answering Jesus’ call to get out of the boat and walk to Him on the water reminds us powerfully that not only does Christ control the storm, and not only does He send the storm sometimes, but that He also reveals Himself in the midst of the storm.
Join me in this verbal declaration, a message, spoken or written, which makes known truth about something. I invite you to say this declaration out loud and proclaim the truth of what is.
Today, I declare my Hope. I am not in the hands of a virus. I am in the hands of the victorious Lord Jesus Christ. I am in the hands of my God who is always good to me. He has not called me to disappointment, disorientation, disenchantment, discomfort, or discouragement.
My God is the Restorer, the Redeemer, the Righteous One, and the Rebuilder. My God is a Master of taking what the enemy has tried to use against me and build my life through that very same experience.
Today I make my declaration of great dependence. I will trust in the LORD at all times. I will hope in the LORD at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth!
You can watch the full message here.
*I can’t recall where I first saw this declaration. I think it was from Kathryn Scott. I added a line or two to fit into the context of our current teaching series, Take Heart.