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Tag Archives: Anxiety

Always Safe, Never Alone!

Life can feel scary, lonely, sad, and very very empty. “Beyond here, there be Monsters”! Grief from loss, fear from a bad medical appointment, pain from a broken heart and relationship ruptured, heartache from a loved one careening towards disaster, the stress and anxiety from professional or financial reversals…

Worst of all… the teeny tiny niggling nagging fear that sometimes assails… that we dare not even ADMIT because we are… in our own eyes and those of others… people of HOPE…

The worst one… the wee small voice that comes in our darkest nights and lowest moments saying… “It’s all empty you know. You’re really just alone and floating, drifting, randomly… on the surface of time. There’s nothing and no one else, it’s all just a great cosmic joke.”

If you’ve never heard this little temptation, this voice of internal despair, with its message of either “there is no God”… or “God really despises you, you know”… then I applaud you. There’s fancy names for this… “Existential Angst”, among others…

This is very powerful in our world. In fact, this, the “deadly despair” that can arise… the call to action prompted, and the depression and suicide associated with this channel of thought, are costing countless lives both young and old.

The most frightening words we can know?

“Abandoned!”   “Betrayed”   “Unclean”   “Cast Out!”   “Unworthy”   “Alone”

These are “Killing Words”… These are “Murdering Words”…

21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” [Matthew 5]

Strong words, Our Lord uses here. But I think He knew (knows) and could see the sort of harm, the damage, that happens to people when they are isolated, separated, cut off, declared “good-for-nothing” and valueless… in relationships. To be cut off in a relationship is to be wounded, to be judged, to be condemned, and to wither and shrivel.

In our own world, our own time and space, we see people choose to end life, rather than continue in such a state of shadow being. For those who base their hope, their trust, their sense of being anchored and well, in the human relationships around them, there is a danger. People can fail. People are frail and faulty, and sometimes, for whatever reason, we can cut others off… leaving them alone with their fears and concerns. Wrong? Of course! But yet so much a part of being human! So much a part… of US.


I woke this morning with David Wesley’s song in my ears and spirit. It’s not that I am particularly depressed or anxious in these days (as far as I know). Stuff happens, of course, and I have my tense moments… but nothing profound.

Nonetheless, in these times, these days… where we ask meaningful questions like, “What is Church as God envisions it?” “What is a Christian, how do I live that?” “How do we walk in the intimate Oneness of Christ, here and now… moment by moment?”

This song just rang on and on in my mind, my soul, and I realized something incredibly simple, yet absorbingly profound…

When these lyrics wash through you… Here is God’s ministry TO YOU… Here is your hope, your faith, your life, your breath! Here is the embrace… the absolutely unrelenting love, embrace, support, presence, and affirmation of God FOR you! You are Safe! You are Never Alone!

And, at the very same moment, HERE is the Gospel!

Here is OUR grace towards OTHERS! That God’s love through us, never fails, never gives up, never runs out on others. That’s more of a challenge in practice, I know. But just like Sermon on the Mount, or I Corinthians 13, that is nonetheless the Truth of how God touches others through us when we allow.

When we allow…

The answer is love. What was the question?

Enjoy the song again. Now, go love somebody!

Joy, blessing, and grace to you!

The Little Monk

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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The World Needs More Sleep

mary jesus sleepsRejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:4-7]

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A comment to a recent post discussing spiritual warfare brought up the topic of sleep. There are times that the enemy seems able to mess with our ability to fall asleep, the content of our dreams or nightmares, our ability to stay in peaceful restful sleep, and the like. I was struck with the vivid reminder of how true all of that is, and how important is our ability to rest, renew, and refresh in peaceful sleep.

So this is a quick “How-To” post regarding peace and sleep. As per usual, while there are scriptural anchors to this, along with some traditional theology, this is not “authoritative” “finger-pointing” “take notes now, ’cause you gotta do it THIS way” stuff. This is just “here’s some stuff I’ve learned along the journey and if it helps you, use it… if it doesn’t fit, throw it away” stuff.

Background Info:

  • Jesus is/was Son of Man, Son of God… both
  • We, in His image, have physical and spiritual nature
  • We, in His image, have will and creativity… imagination, ability to form and direct the mind in configurations we design
  • We, in His image, are subject to “spiritual input of others” whether of darkness or of Light, and we can choose how to respond
  • God is Our Father, Our Mother, Our Parent… neither abusive, nor neglectful
  • NO ONE and NOTHING is more loving, powerful, and/or protective of us… than Our Father
  • Sabbath is not only a command, but a blessing, a time for “trusting God with the care of ourselves and our stuff” without our own effort or help
  • God is Light and in Him is no darkess
  • Darkness cannot bear Light

OK, I could write an entire post (and often have), and more (and sometimes have) on EACH of those bullets… but not here, not now. If any one (or more) of them need more words from me… leave a comment or send an email.

The enemy can, at times, intrude on our thoughts and minds to prompt anxiety, stress, and restlessness. God, on the other hand, brings peace, trust, joy.

Before bed, take a few moments to prepare:

  • “Count blessings” – Childish as it sounds, “enter His gates with thanksgiving” is real, true, and grown-up. You are preparing to “sleep like Samuel” in the Holy of Holies of the Temple that is you, your own life. Begin, simply with a heart of gratitude (“gratitude is foundational”, a friend of mine says… True ‘dat.)
  • Leave worries outside the gate – Don’t deny or repress, just acknowledge all the stuff on the To Do list, pat them on the head, wish them a good night’s sleep, and resolve to see them tomorrow. For right now, you all need rest. They will manage without you for this time.
  • Wash up to change clothes – We all accumulate “road dust” through our days. Without making any big deal of it, take some time to reflect and acknowledge those moments of the day where conscience prompts that “this could have been handled better”, and resolve to improve. No archaeology here… no deep digging… just the thanks for what was done well, acknowledgement that not all was done perfectly, and resolution to do better… in our role of “clear vessel” for Him in our days.
  • Put on Your Night Robes – Draw onto your clean washed self, the fullness of your Private Interior Robes of the righteousness of Christ. He clothes you in His power, love, grace, and righteousness. Such clothing is embued with the very aroma of His grace and care. NOTHING can damage these, or pass their protection.
  • Enter the Holy of Holies, and settle in for the night.
  • Let Daddy tell you a bedtime story. Go to the Gospels, let the Spirit select a scene. Read it over, close your eyes. Use your sacred imagination to “apply the senses” to the scene. Envision it utterly, including sights, sounds, smells, textures, flavors… Then put yourself into the scene, AS A SMALL CHILD, hanging on to Jesus’ robes, or hand. When He sits down, climb into His lap and listen to Him speak.
  • Let the Spirit do whatever the Spirit chooses, and let Jesus rock you to sleep in His arms, there by the fire after supper. (Btw, He often sings or hums.)

No mother bear ever so guarded her cubs, as He guards a child in His arms.

Over time, with practice, this becomes ever more fun. He not only guards His children with peace, but He starts taking them places in their dreams and sleep. And THERE, they can do extraordinary things together.

When threatened with violence by human authorities that were astonished by His lack of fear, He responded, “…do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” [Matthew 26:53]

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“Well!” one could say, “If we can do all this… Why isn’t EVERY night like this?! If THIS is what God intends in sleep, why hasn’t it ever happened to me before NOW??!!”

Um, it kinda depends on where we choose to sleep, dunnit? I myself, used to sleep in the scrub… at the mercy of every passing weasel and wolf. Then I figured out that I had my own “fortifications” available, and I used that. My own mansion, prayer closet, chamber. I knew I could hedge and post angels, and I did that for a long time.

Why didn’t I sleep in His arms? Um, ’cause nobody told me it was OK. Sounds dumb, I know… the Bible screams it at us constantly, but frankly… I thought it would be too “bold”, too “forward”, too “irreverent”. But then, one day I paid some serious attention to Samuel as a child in 1 Samuel 3, and found myself thinking/praying, “Wow, how neat would it be to have slept in the Holy of Holies with the Ark?”

God challenged me to try it. We actually LIVE in the presence of the Ark. The Ark dwells within us. The Holy Spirit within us occupies the Mercy Seat.

So… things have never been quite the same.

As to “night terrors” I shall say only this. The Immediate Presence of God is Light… no darkness. Darkness cannot enter that space. Evil, sin, cannot enter that space (just ask Nadab and Abihu). WE can enter that space because of the cleansing we have undergone in Jesus.

Use Superpowers… will, co-creation… following the prompts of Holy Spirit… and try an evening sleeping there.

Let me know how that goes…

Grace to thee — The Little Monk

P.S. This may help…

 

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Pick Your Planet

earth deadSome days, it can seem as if the world is dead. Covered in a  coating of ash and choking dust. The evening news, calls from friends or family about tragedy, painful memories and regret of past decisions, misunderstanding by those we love… Some days, it seems difficult to look about us and see any light at all, see any purpose, see that we are making any difference with our little candle flames against what seems the overwhelming force of darkness and shadow.

Yes, life can seem like that at times.

And if we aren’t careful… if we stay in that posture… if we continue to see only the darkness and shadow… it can seem to leach the very life force from us, and we can find ourselves in a very dark place indeed. A dangerous place. An empty and painful place.

What then? What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to put on “Rose Colored Glasses”, pretend to be Pollyanna, just ignore all the pain and hurting people around us? Are we supposed to lie? To ourselves, to others, to God? What do we do, to be honest and truthful… and yet not be overwhelmed by the sorrows we open our hearts to?

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We exercise our Super Power. We use our power of Choice and Free Will to see Truth beyond the appearances. We can grasp and embrace a deep spiritual truth, at the same time that we heed the advice of one of the greatest realists of all time… The Apostle Paul.

Paul gave this instruction to the Philippian Church: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9]

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Paul is hardly a “Pollyanna” guy. He’s been chased hither and yon by both Religious Authorities and Romans… he’s been stoned, flogged, shipwrecked, thrown in jail, threatened with execution… you name it, he’s been there, done that. He’s seen friends and co-workers tortured and killed. Nothing “warm and fuzzy” about Paul, or rose-colored to his view of the world.

We all “know” these verses. We could probably recite them. But do we ever really LOOK at them? Do we ever really see what he’s saying here? Let’s do that…

Let’s look at this from the bottom up. Let’s see that Paul is giving a very PRACTICAL instruction here, revealing a very profound spiritual secret, a “technique” here.

We, in general, people, seek “peace”. “Peace of mind”, “peace of heart”, the kind of peace that lets us sleep easily and sit quietly without a thousand worries wrinkling our brow when the noise dies down on a quiet day. Paul says, “the God of peace will be with you…” That’s an extraordinary promise. The number one pharmaceuticals, the biggest money makers in the drug world in the U.S. today, are anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. Astonishing, no?

So… for the “God of peace” to be “with us”… Paul says, “dwell on” and “practice” this dwelling as he’s been observed to do… Dwell on whatever is “excellence and worthy of praise”.

WHAT?

What about all the Bad Stuff? What about the occupation army? What about the Temple Guards breaking into our homes and dragging us off to be flogged or executed? What about our families turning us in? Is Paul CRAZY?

Nonetheless… Paul says for the God of peace to come to us… dwell on the excellent and worthy of praise. He even gives specific examples, whatever is: true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute.

Any questions? Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Let’s be even MORE clear. Here’s what NOT to dwell on… Whatever is Untrue, False, Dishonorable, Wrong, Impure and Corrupt, Ugly, and Shameful.

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Gentle Reader, I’m not finger-pointing. This is as much confession as exhortation… But if you want to know “Peace”… DON’T let your mind revolve on all that negative, toxic, “stuff”. Just DON’T. It is poisonous, it is stress-inducing, it will rob us of peace, joy, and love. I’m not saying to ignore it, or deny it. When bad stuff happens, when toxic stuff happens, acknowledge it, embrace it, then release it and let it go. DON:T DWELL ON IT! Don’t ruminate, contemplate, meditate, and cling to it.  Minister in difficult situations as you can, embrace, affirm, encourage, acknowledge, love… and then refocus and re-sensitize to the good, the true, the lovely.

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Here’s the deep spiritual truth underlying this “technique”…

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5

Jesus taught:“You are the light of the world. A city set on a [hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-16]

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Practical Application: Here’s the thing I’ve noticed in/for myself and my own life… When I focus on the “stuff out there”, the darkness and ash, I can lose my peace and joy, lose my center, and grow heartsick and weary. This leads me to a rather pathetic form of self-pity that takes away all my effectiveness. When the Lord gently leads me out of this spiral… when I again heed Paul’s advice… when I focus on Light instead of darkness, then two things happen.

earth beautifulOne, the God of peace joins me, feeds and nurtures me, and I focus again on the “I”… (what I can do, how I can help, how I can love), rather than on the “me” (the situation doesn’t heed me, appreciate me, acknowledge me). I get to bask in the radiance that is God, His love, His care, His glory… rather than the mud and the muck.

Two, (and this may sound a bit strange), but I “see” an entirely different world. I see a world of people doing unexpectedly kind and loving things. I see the flowers growing out of the sidewalk cracks, rather than just the concrete jungle. I see the grace, the joy, the laughter, the redemption and blessings, even in the midst of the most challenging environments and situations.

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I’ve come to realize that my Super Power, this Power of Choice and Will that God has given us, being created in His Image, allows me to “pick my planet”.

I can choose to see, focus, and dwell on that first one at the beginning of this post. I can glue myself to the “all bad news, all the time” channels on my mega-cable boob toob. OR… I can choose to get out amongst people, encouraging love, understanding, grace and embracing one another… whether for better or worse, in good times or bad, sickness or health.

That’s MY Choice! I can pick my planet! So can you. What’ll it be?

Grace to thee!

The Little Monk

 
 

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NOAA 42 — IFR Living

hurricaneOnce upon a time, a lifetime or two ago, I used to fly airplanes. Little airplanes, I’ll grant, but still… I flew them.

I’ve also endured a hurricane or two in my time, (totally as a ground-dweller!)

But I’ve watched a program about an aircraft dubbed “NOAA 42”, where grown men in (ostensibly) their right minds actually and on purpose fly their airplane INTO a hurricane (often at laughingly low altitude) to acquire scientific/meteorological data to predict the behavior of a given storm to predict landfall and severity. (Please bear in mind, while this sounds dare-devilish… this exercise saves lives as these storms bear down on us landlocked.)

But as I watched this program… an episode about a flight that went in a distinctly UNscripted fashion as they explored Hurricane Hugo a while back… I found myself echoing with how apt their experience is to life itself.

I mean, there they fly (willingly! knowingly!) into the outer wall of Hurricane Hugo… from a gorgeous blue sky tropical paradise day over the Caribbean… into the violence of total gray out, wind, waves, storm, at 1500 feet. Into a storm that can fling them down with a 1000 foot slap, or up 500 feet, faster than a pilot can react. “White knuckled” doesn’t begin to cover my own vicarious feeling about a flight like this.

But once they are THERE, once they are INSIDE this thing, this monster, there is nothing there that their own senses, their own eyes, ears, backsides can tell them… no sensory input or reasoning between their minds and their bodies, that they can rely on to manage the situation. There is total lack of sensory data for them, and they must rely… with absolute confidence… on their instruments and the information those instruments give them, to manage their aircraft safely.

This is the ultimate form of IFR Flying — Instrument Flight Rules — and this is the skill set needed when the pilot simply cannot see anything helpful outside the aircraft. Whether it is night flying or foul bad weather, when a pilot can see for a distance of 3+ nautical miles, they may fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). If not… it’s IFR or stay on the ground.

Now, I myself, never undertook the discipline of acquiring an IFR ticket, never took the rating.  But I did have a marvelous instructor who, a couple times, brought the training “hood” out with us and let me experience what was required to control the aircraft by instrumentation, without reference to outside aids (like the horizon, landmarks, etc.) (By the way, an obvious caution, never do this solo unless you ARE on IFR and transponder equipped. My instructor was there and maintaining the visual scan diligence needed, to watch for hazards or other aircraft. Right, ’nuff said.) But, it’s an incredible sensation… as alien as, like, walking around your house with a cane, blindfolded.

Anyway, as I watched NOAA 42 in the midst of a hurricane, I was overwhelmed with a new appreciation of “Faith”.

In the moments they are in that storm, they are utterly blind, deaf, and helpless. They are totally at the mercy of the wind, waves, the storm. In those moments, their crew simply “switch over” in their heads, to radar screens, attitude indicators, altimeters, pitch indicators, and they stop trusting anything their senses tell them, if sensation conflicts with what their instruments say.

As I realized this… God just seemed to “interrupt this program with an important Truth”… as the obvious parallel to Life just lit up.

I know you see it too, so I’ll not belabor the obvious, but just to sum up…

At the most vibrant degree of living… at the point where we can fully live in the embrace and trust of God… sometimes we can walk in harmony with life by “sight” and feel confident that we know what’s going on and can manage our affairs, our behaviors, our feelings participating with our own wills, thoughts, reasoning. Yes. Much of the time we can do this.

But there are other times, other situations, other phenomena… that either we can avoid, because we simply don’t have the personal resources adequate safely to navigate them…

OR, can we develop another skill set… a “Faith Life Rules” set… that allows us to navigate storms, darkness, times of (yes) stressful, perhaps painful or even dangerous phenomena… that we can pass through without harm? Can we disengage from our own fears, anxieties, predictions of probable outcomes, passions, adrenalin, sentiments… and just focus on what we know that we know… the truths of the Gospel, the words and acts of Jesus, the convictions and infusion of peace through the Spirit within?

I ended up with this very strange impression, that we can trust to the bright sunny skies, and EQUALLY we can trust to the hurricane… if we see both as expressions of Life Himself, and are determined to live by trust to His embrace. (I know that makes no sense.) But I just can’t shake the feeling that living in that trust, accepting and embracing even that apparent “danger”, gives us the freedom and joy of High Flight.

Just a thought… Gentle Reader.

Grace to thee — The Little Monk

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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The Pearl Inside the Gift Box

The holiday season, pretty lights, gifts under the tree, and… in OUR lives… consistent reminders of the Greatest Gift! Right? So… like… here’s another post, another Christian post, this one a little late… but another “sermon” about the Greatest Gift… right? Well… almost right.

Yup, this is about that Greatest Gift of God to our lives. Yup, that gift is Jesus. But it is NOT about a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. At least, not directly. This is about a gift I’ve learned to seek and find every day. I guess you could say this blog post is a “story”. A story about a little boy. But this little boy wasn’t born in Bethlehem, but right here in the U.S. And he’s not newborn, he’s seven years old. And he’s not headed off to exile in Egypt with his mother and foster father, he’s here in my house and we had breakfast this morning, and his father was murdered two feet away from him a couple years ago and his mother is in prison. A very different little boy…

Yesterday morning I was driving to our local hospital (a not unusual place for a church staff minister to be headed, even on this “off week” between Christmas and New Year’s). I got a phone call from my boss asking if I could house a little boy at risk of violence in his home, and of course I could. So I was told to drive home, he came, and I have enjoyed his presence immensely. I had the privilege of walking with this youngster through much of the pain he has been through, and of helping him meet and embrace His King Jesus, and agree to be His little boy forever more. I watched him, months ago, become an indwelt son of Our Father, and from time to time I have encouraged him in his growth into his inheritance. The situation is a bit delicate and somewhat awkward, I must tread carefully and gently, but I do what I can. In short, this precious little boy lives in a fairly sad place. There’s sadness in his past, and more sadness in his future, and it frustrates me sometimes that I can do nothing to “fix it”.

This morning, over breakfast, knowing that I will shortly surrender this boy back to the sad currents of his own life’s river, unable to intervene or change its course, I handed this all to Jesus, sitting there at the breakfast table with us. I had a moment, not one of my shining moments, but a simple and human moment where I felt angry and frustrated that “all I can do for this little boy is pray for him”.

“All I can do is pray!”

I thought that thought apologetically… weakly… timidly. I turned my frustration and helplessness to Jesus, and He answered that without hesitation or remainder. I was so very out of order.

Prayer. We do it all the time, don’t we? We talk about it, teach about it, proclaim its power and impact. But so often, at least for me, when it is “all I can do”… I look upon prayer as rather the red-headed-stepchild of my personal impact arsenal. As if I could do MORE than God can do if only I could get on the phone and make some arrangements to fix the problem, or counsel, or teach. If I can intervene in a situation under my OWN power, and see the forces at work, then I FEEL much more “effective”, much more “capable and potent”, than if I simply wrap my love around the one I am concerned with, and place him/her into the hands of Our Father with my faith, hope, love, and trust.

Do I hear an “Amen?”, or am I the only one here who ever feels this way?

But then Jesus taught me this wonderful thing, and had me share it with my young friend. The Lord wasn’t even mad or disappointed at my weakness of prayer, He just assured me that He SO honors loving trusting prayer that this was NOT the weakest weapon in my arsenal, but my strongest. That, in fact, everything else would only “work” to the extent that prayer made way for the success.

But as to the gift He showed me, we see it here:

Judas not Iscariot said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me. “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.“Get up; let’s leave this place.” John 14:22-31

Now, there’s all kinds of richness there, but Jesus only wanted me to focus on one thing this morning… on the “gift He left” there for His formerly-disciples-now-called-friends. He left them the gift of “peace”. He gave them His own peace. And He wanted me to receive that this morning, and to share it with my young friend.

But the context here is and was critically important. He was about to leave these men who had followed Him for so long and who loved Him so deeply. They were going to feel alone, orphaned and abandoned. That is a dreadful, powerful feeling. It is a feeling of ultimate weakness, anxiety, fear, and timidity. There is little in the world as dreadfully sad as feeling orphaned and abandoned by those you love most. And that is what these men were beginning to feel, and worse… would shortly feel with a far greater depth.

But Jesus knew better. Jesus could see what they could not see. Jesus knew they were in the “now”, in a single passing moment of the present. Jesus knew that those moments were moving forward to the greatness of the full Redemption, and beyond that, to the coming of the Holy Spirit… to His very presence, and that He would be with them in an undeniable way forever after that. And in that moment… in that in-between moment… fear and pain behind them, more fear and pain before them… He gave this gift, this incredible gift… His Own Peace. What grace!

In THAT moment, whatever had gone before and whatever was to come, He was with them. He was present with them. And they could rest in that, rely on that, and trust to that. He was in the midst of the greatest teaching discourse in the entire Bible, and equally in the midst of the greatest act of divine grace in the history of Creation. And right here, right now, with Him, He gave peace and there could be joy, free of all anxiety and fear and timidity. What would it take to receive this gift? Only trust… to trust and believe in the words He spoke, uttered, shared from the Father… to be “kept”, “received”, and embraced by their hearts and minds.

This was what Jesus showed me this morning at the breakfast table with my coffee and with my young friend. That this youngster had painful fearful days in his past. He had more painful days in his future. But at THIS moment, in the NOW, in this sacred space of the grace and love of my house, we had and could share and enjoy… Peace. Right here, right now, Jesus was present with us and there was nothing to be anxious, timid, or fearful about. At this table, we could talk, and laugh, and rest in the joy and peace of loving one another and Jesus loving us and we loving Him.

Our Lord had me speak words into my young friend’s heart and life. That he should always remember that Jesus gives us peace, as a grace gift, whenever we look to Him for it. That every day… every… single… day… Jesus gives us a whole new day of life for ourselves as a gift. We don’t “make” a day, we can’t “manufacture” or “create” one, we can’t even “lengthen” one or “slow it down”. Each day we have is a gift directly given us from the heart, and love, and hand of God Himself. But that beyond even THAT gift, Jesus gives us Peace, and has promised us that. And that in each day, somewhere, there is joy.

I told him that Jesus only gives us one day at a time. We only have the “now”. And that is precious. If we spend today, the Now, focused on the past and its pains, or focused on the future and its worries, we miss the gift entirely. That if we can focus on today, and on Jesus being with us in today, we will find that He places a “pearl” in the day for us… there will be joy somewhere. If we seek it, if we will love others without fear, and let them love us without our mistrust, we will find the pearl of joy that Jesus places somewhere in every single day. But if we forget Him, forget to thank Him or forget to look for the grace and blessing in today, we’ll get caught up in the memories of pain in the past, or fears of the pain of the future, and we’ll miss the gift entirely.

I didn’t know if this little boy could understand me. But he did. That’s the strange thing about suffering… sorrowful as it is, it can bring an amazing degree of wisdom with it. He understood. And I was very relieved, for so many adults I walk with and love deeply find it impossible to understand this.

“Look for the joy in every day. Hold on to the Peace Jesus puts in every day. And see, and remember always, that you are NOT alone… ever. He is there, right there with you all the time, and you are never ever abandoned. Don’t let pain in the past, or fear in the future, take away your peace or joy in today. The grace is only HERE! This gift… today… it is only here! Don’t miss it, or walk past it.”

He needed to hear that, and he received it and has embraced it all this happy day. But I needed to hear that, too. I have had sadness in recent days. And there are some fearful challenges in the days to come. It is so strong in me, this temptation to focus on shadows, sadness, grief, fear, or timidity.

But Jesus reminded me today, through a wonderful seven year old boy, of this incredible Gift. I needed to be reminded that He gifts with only today, and there is grace enough only for today. I know this. I know you know this. But as for me, sometimes, well… I’ve learned that even though I’ve heard something many times, sometimes, I just need to hear it again.

It seems that Jesus agrees… or, at least, He did this morning. Peace and grace to you, Gentle Reader!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

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