After reflecting on the different ways people in the Bible respond to feeling troubled, Jen Scheuermann examines her own response.
There was that word again, jumping off the page, clamoring for my attention. I picked up my pen to underline it, aware that God was speaking to me, as He often does, through repetition and patterns.
Over several weeks this word had grabbed my focus repeatedly. I’d stumbled across it while reading my Advent devotional. It popped up during readings at mass. And here it was again, dancing on the page as I read Scripture on my own.
King Herod, upon hearing of the birth of Jesus, was troubled. (Matthew 2:3)
Martha, overwhelmed by serving Jesus while her sister sat at His feet, was troubled. (Luke 10:41 RSV)
And Mary, after being greeted by the angel Gabriel, was troubled. (Luke 1:29)
I couldn’t help but notice that each person had a very different response to this unpleasant sensation, and I quickly assumed God was asking me to pay closer attention to my own response when I feel troubled. Do I respond like King Herod, making rash decisions out of anger as I try to exert control and power? Do I respond like Martha, with anxiety, impatience, and unkind words? Or do I respond like Mary, with calmness, gentleness, and prayerful reflection?
I woke early to finish packing my overnight bag. Months prior I had registered for a silent retreat, and the weekend had finally arrived. I planned to work a half day and then drive directly to the retreat center. For weeks I’d counted down the days until this retreat. I wanted nothing other than a weekend of encountering Jesus. I hoped to arrive empty, free from expectations, so the Lord could meet and fill me however He chose.
But the night before the retreat, turmoil flowed through my house. A father-son disagreement that had simmered for many weeks came to boil. Tension and hard feelings abounded.
Part of me wanted to run from my house, and the retreat could not come quickly enough. But part of me felt tremendous guilt for leaving my family at that moment. There had been no resolution, and both my momma heart and wife heart ached, calling me to stay home so I could try to fix things I ultimately cannot fix.
I was troubled.
And suddenly, these verses, this word, these different responses … they all made sense.
God very much wanted me to follow Mary’s example and bring my troubles to Him. He wanted me to prayerfully reflect on them with Him. No, leaving my house at that moment was not easy. But to be honest, staying would not have been easy either. And had I stayed home, my response would have likely mirrored that of King Herod or Martha.
God knew of this retreat’s perfect timing when I first felt that nudge to schedule it months earlier. And He stood before me at that most troubling moment, offering me the perfect opportunity to slip away and quietly ponder all of my troubles with Him.
Copyright 2022 Jennifer Scheuermann
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About the Author
While living out her vocations of marriage, motherhood, and health care provider, Jen is often found on the sidelines of a ball game, searching for shade while cheering on her sons. An early riser, she sits with Jesus while it’s still dark and blogs about their conversations at Early Morning Coffee With Jesus. Get to know her more on Instagram or Facebook.