It’s Monday. That means the start of a new work week for my husband and me and a new school week for my kids. For some, today is their birthday, their anniversary or their last day of chemo. For others, today is the final day on the job after getting a “pink slip”. Today might bring a check in the mail or a notice of foreclosure.
In other parts of the world, today is the day their house gets bombed, their father gets executed or their child succumbs to disease. Today might also bring joy as a village welcomes the message of salvation as the good news of the Gospel is heard.
So what does this all mean for my ordinary American life? How can I care without becoming consumed? There are nations at war, civil unrest at home, and evil abounding globally–but I still need to run to Costco to fill up my car with gas. How do I live? How do I pray? How do I make a difference?
I think it has to start, very simply, with the scripture “Be still, and know that I am God.” As I looked up the reference, I was surprise to read the entire psalm and hear many of the same themes of today, sung by the words of the Psalmist thousands of years ago:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46
In light of this passage, my outlook for this week has a distinctive, new focus.
1. I can pray for peace but don’t need to be in fear of war. God is my shelter. War may be raging around us, but He can make them cease.
2. I can exalt (praise) God and teach my children to do the same.
3. I can look for opportunities to show the promise of peace to others who don’t have it.
Some may view this approach as too “simple”. However, I know that there is no way for me to be still before God if I continue to strive for _______ (fill in the blank) with my own strength and power. I absolutely want to be moved by the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience in whatever area He calls me to. That might be a time of intense prayer. It might be ministry to a hurting friend. It might be courtesy and respect to the rude clerk at the counter. Sure, I have things I want to accomplish this week—they may even be good things. But, they might not be God things. After all, I can’t hear His voice if I’m busy talking about my own personal agenda.
Lord, help me to be keenly aware of every area you want me to engage in this week. Help me pray according to your will. Let my heartbeat mimic your own. Let me not be burdened with anyone’s projection of what they think I should be doing. Instead, let me simply rest in you, being obedient to your voice and call. Amen