Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:
I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. - Psalm 4:8
He is our peace. - Ephesians 2:14
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 119:73-80; 2 Samuel 15:30-16:23; John 9:13-34
Peace is important to me! I developed the habit a long time ago of signing my letters and emails with "Peace, Jim" - partly because I think peace with God and with other people gets to the heart of Christian faith, and partly because peace is something I can wish and hope for any person of any faith or no religious faith. We can all understand peace in the biblical sense of shalom: not just the absence of war, but a number of positive, active factors: calm, tranquility, harmony with God and all creation.
My need for peace is connected to the power of God's grace. When I rely on myself to get things done, keep my priorities in order, attend to my key relationships, and take care of myself, I can barely begin before things get out of hand. I have trouble keeping up with everything, which makes me more stressed, which makes the problem worse. When, on the other hand, I'm able to see through the lens of God's grace, and rely on God to direct and supply and arrange things, I can have peace at heart, even when the pace of life is frantic and the volume is overwhelming. Just knowing that everything does not depend on me sets me free to do what I can, and trust that God will supply everything else necessary.
I'm writing today's devotion about 14 hours later in the day than I intended, and it's been a day filled with planned and unplanned busyness of many kinds. I'm tired, and pretty close to being ready for bed. There's a stack of notes nearby with unfinished tasks, concerns to check on, people to talk to, decisions to make. But it's been a good day, where I've had some moments of seeing God at work in people's lives, and I've been able to give thanks throughout the day that God is at work in me and through me. When I do lie down for the night, I think I'll sleep well and peacefully, knowing that it's ultimately God's hands and not mine that hold all these things.
Tomorrow will be another day, and I'll look for God alive and active again. Life will go on with its ups and downs and twists and turns, and God will keep faithfully being present with me no matter what, and calling me to be present myself. Thank you, God, for every day, and for the peace that gets us through all our challenges. Help me to center myself on you and your love, and rest in your peace even in the midst of busyness. Let this peace sustain me and transform me, and let it settle into the lives of people I touch who need it too.