Peace: Walking Through November

As I continue to read through Mark, I see the simplicity of how Jesus spoke of common, everyday life to shed light on deep truths.  For the moment, I’m stuck on the meaning of bread.  Bread has a very comforting way of fulfilling hunger and the hungry soul.  Jesus had compassion for the multitudes he spoke to.  After meeting their spiritual needs, He fed them bread.

Jesus fed 5000 and then awhile later, another 4000, with the loaves of bread on hand.  I imagine it was a sight to see — God’s plenty rising up in the baskets whenever the bread supply became low. I think about those holding the baskets and serving the bread.  I imagine they felt peace as the problem of hungry was solved.  They probably experienced gratitude for the shift from less to more than enough.  I am certain that I would have flooded with overwhelming joy to be able to give to others.  Peace.  Gratitude.  Joy.  It’s not at all a surprise that we experience peace and joy from carrying the baskets He asks us to.  Whether we have big or little faith, it is all wrapped up in our willingness to carry the basket.

Later, as Jesus and the disciples headed into the boat, Jesus gives them a truth about bread.  He says, Beware of the leaven of bread and the leaven of Herod.  Despite the miracle of feeding many with little, the disciples figure Jesus is making reference to the fact that they forgot to buy bread for their journey in the boat.  As an old friend of mine would say, Really?  Could the disciples really have thought Jesus was concerned about their lack of food or that they forgot to buy it?  Was it really that big of stretch for them to catch the spiritual meaning?

I’m stuck on bread because I think Jesus is saying something very powerful here.  Why do you reason because you have no bread?  Do you not yet perceive or understand?  Having eyes, do you not see?  And having ears, do you not hear?  And do you not remember?  Matthew 16.

I think about challenges in my life.  Struggles.  Times when I don’t understand.  Seasons of less.  Lack.  Pain.  Hurt.  Trembling.  The truth is I’m still here (with enough bread).  He’s always delivered the hurt to healing.  Trembling to peace.  Less to more.  But yet, every time I experience less and not more.  Pain and not ease.  Whenever I go from big picture living to lack of understanding, I crumble on the inside.  I figure there’s no more bread.

So, like the disciples, I sit in the boat with God.  Whose resources are beyond my comprehension.  And, I worry about no bread.  I ponder all of the mistakes I’ve made to contribute or cause the lack of bread.  I get numb to the miracles I’ve seen.  I get dumb to the metaphor of bread.

But, Jesus has compassion for me.  He knows all too well my physical and spiritual needs.  He knows that when He quiets my soul that I can understand.  Jesus wasn’t bothered by the disciples mistakes or what they felt they lacked.  He’s not necessarily trying to teach me about the leavening in bread.  He’s working towards a deeper meaning.  He’s pulling me away from things like the doctrine of hypocrites and false religion.   He’s pulling me towards truths to fill my hungry soul.

JOURNEY THROUGH OCTOBER: CONQUERING FEAR

~week two~day 1~

Love ˃ Fear

I look forward to the evening time, when rest is close at hand.   It’s not the rituals that we all have leading to bed.  It’s the actual pulling back of the sheet and blankets, crawling in, tugging up the covers.  Feeling the pillows curve around my neck and head.

I’m clean, I’m wearing the kind of pajamas I love to wear.  Clear drinking water is next to me.  The house is quiet and cool.  This is real rest.  And, if I’ve gone to bed early enough, it’s going to last for seven heavenly hours.

This is just about the point in time that I remember my sisters and daughters all over the world.  I know that there are millions laying on concrete or garbage.  Or on dirty mattresses stained with blood, sweat and tears.  Hungry and dirty.  Hopeless and afraid.  Sick, broken and wondering why the night has to be so long.

Their nights are full of fear.  Mine are not.

There are only two directions I can go with the knowledge of my peace in the night and my sisters’ fear in the night.  I can tuck away my knowledge, be grateful I am living in luxury, say a quick prayer and sleep my way through this life.  My other option is to take my knowledge, be grateful for my life and then give it away for others.

Fear stunts us and holds us back from the calling God places in our hearts.  The only thing that can overcome fear is love. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.  1 John 4:18.  If there ever was a good reason to conquer fear, it is so that we can love more fully, more deeply.  So that we can love not only those close to us, but so that we can love those in our periphery who are in need.  

God, I pray that, tonight, as we each go to the place we call Rest.  We would do so not just because of comfort.  But out of the full knowledge that we have done all that we are able in our waking hours to impact the darkness and despair and hopelessness of those in our reach. I pray that as You work out the big plans in our life Lord, we take every opportunity to make every small effort to feed just one person.  Smile at passers by. Complement our co-workers.  Give grace for no reason at all.  I pray that all our efforts are in your name God.  So that we would go to our place of Rest knowing that we have spent the day laying down our life for the same people and causes that you Love.  Amen.