There’s good news and bad news… which do you want first?
Welcome back to the third installment of my Fruit of the Spirit project. I hope you learned a lot about peace this month–I definitely did! God did big things in my heart during August (that’s the good news). I wrote this beautiful article about it a couple of weeks ago–but then I sent the article to a devotional website, and I haven’t heard back from them yet. Sooo, I can’t share the exact article here. *cries* You’ll get the CliffNotes version… which I guess is the bad news, but in reality it’s always good news when you get a post from me. Right? (Just say yes.)
First of all, I’m sure we can all agree that life is stressful. From the small frustrations like “I paid thousands of dollars for two classes this fall, and now I can’t access my student email,” to the bigger and scarier things like opening your Twitter app hoping for some cute kitten gif’s but instead receiving news of another hate rally, peace can be in short supply sometimes. We all get that. And oftentimes, the opposite of peace is worry. I was watching a great video by Christine Caine this month and she said something that sounded funny, but was actually profound: go to sleep. Just go to sleep. The best thing you can do to fight the enemy is to go to bed–Scripture says God never slumbers, so what’s the point in both of you staying awake? Don’t lose your peace over something you can’t control, or over a scenario in your head that will probably never actually happen. Just go to sleep.
Second–focus on Jesus. I don’t have much to say on this one, because it’s so straightforward: if my mind is full of His greatness, there’s no room for my little worries. Make every effort to be in His presence daily.
Third–read the book of Lamentations. Read it. I studied it probably for the first time ever this month, and it blew my mind. Lamentations is a book of mourning. The author–probably Jeremiah–watched as the Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem and then destroyed it. The city was razed. Even the temple–which non-Jews were not allowed to enter–had been looted and burned. The siege was so long and brutal that mothers ate their own children. With the city left in ruins, it seemed there was nothing left to do but weep. Jerusalem had been burned down to its most holy places, and Lamentations records all of the sorrow and horror and pain. It’s a book of mourning. But it’s something else at the same time–it’s a book of hope. You see, after the author speaks of his grief, he brings a new message.
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I still dare to hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
WOW! That pretty much trumps everything. Through all the grief and pain and mourning–through a desperate attempt to make sense of a world gone mad–the author of Lamentations arrives at this eternal conclusion: we can still dare to hope because of the Lord’s great love.
I’d never read Lamentations until recently, but now I can’t stop. I find myself returning over and over; I’ll probably have it memorized soon, and it’s all because of this message. I often need the reminder of this verse, the permission that it offers me to dare to hope. I need to recall that, in this scary and stressful world, I will not be consumed. My Lord’s compassions never fail. As Lamentation tells us, they are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness. Because of these verses, I can dare to hope. And because of these verses, I can find peace.
What did you learn during our month of peace? I’d love to hear–please share in the comments! Next up is September: patience. (Pray for me…)