In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. Psalm - 77:2
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 3:5
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 71:9-18a; Proverbs 24; 2 Corinthians 6:3-18
When I first read today's texts, my mind went to the idea of direction. Where do we look in times of trouble? When life is confusing and overwhelming, to whom or to what do we turn? Sometimes it helps just to limit the noise and distraction around us and know what direction to orient ourselves.
But I realized that a deeper and more important concept than direction is love. Today's texts speak of a living relationship of love with God. We are not alone, but God is with us, as an active, caring presence. Paul in 2 Thessalonians speaks of the "steadfastness" of Christ; that no matter how rocky or unsettled our world feels, there is the solid, reliable, loving presence of God through Christ. In today's verse, Paul's blessing for direction is not an abstract question of where to focus, but a reminder that life and love are always to be found in God.
The point is a person, not a compass setting. The promise is a relationship of love, not a collection of paving stones. And our destination is not a place, a condition, a state of being, a concept, or a code of life. We are heading for nothing less than God! And for a place in the arms of God's love, now and forever.
As I write this, I think it sounds calmer than I feel. Today, my mind and spirit are overwhelmed with activity and the needs of the world, angry at the news that our President has withdrawn our country from important commitments to the environment and to the rest of the world, discouraged at our ability to make it through the complexity of human life to a point where we can meaningfully agree on how to move forward together.
In a sense, I'm eager for a direction. What can I do, Lord? Where should I direct my energy?
Instead, God gives me a call to remember love. I'm grateful for the reminder, and I can feel the grace of this word, washing over me with relief and cleansing. But part of me still resists. I want to do something.
So for today, I will seek the Lord. I will stretch out my hand to God. I will keep on praying that God will direct my heart, to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.