Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation. Isaiah 2:2
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:4-7
I’m not sure which is harder: trusting God with what shatters my heart with grief or giving voice to my deepest longings in prayer. It’s so hard to put those things into words because once I’ve spoken them, I can’t take them back. What I’ve put into words claims me in some mysteriously tangible way. Words expose who I am. There’s nowhere to hide from my creator, redeemer, and sustainer. To be so vulnerable is an act of deep trust. When God keeps faith with me, my fear disappears: I am not afraid, and I am stronger for revealing my deepest hopes and hurts.
I’ve never really thought much about the “peace…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” part of this reading. The peace God grants when I pray can’t be reduced to a good reason for praying, and it isn’t merely a coping mechanism. This peace surrounds, enlivens, encourages, sustains. Whatever happens, I am held in a peace that fills my heart, boggles my mind, and enlarges my soul. It keeps me on this road to Bethlehem. It will keep me on the road to Jerusalem, too.
Dear God, Here are my hopes and fears. Take them and make of them something holy. Love, your dear child.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.