There is privilege—and sometimes pain—in living the sermon before actually preaching the sermon. (Or in my case, in living the Bible Study before actually teaching the Bible Study.)
These are the words that God just spoke into my spirit.
While these are not comforting words, they are reassuring words. Today has been a rough day. No reason in particular, but rather an amalgam of stuff intensified by what my ace-boon C Alma aptly labeled the "post-vacation blues."
I've got it bad.
Last week I maxed and relaxed, swam and tanned, sailed and kayaked, galloped and climbed in beautiful, sunny Ocho Rios with hubby extraordinaire. Not that New Jersey isn't beautiful and sunny, but I am mourning. My mourning has left me tired and unmotivated. All that would be well and good except I am teaching not one, but two Bible studies tomorrow.
But thanks be to God, He meets us where we are.
Somewhere round about 3:00 a.m. on Monday morning, I work up frantically grabbing for my iPad. I was up for about two hours meditating on and asking questions of the Apostle Paul's words in Philippians 4, specifically the fourth through the ninth verses:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (NKJV)
By this morning, my selective amnesia had set in and I forgot about the joy of my musings on the Word. I forgot that my Bible Study was ready in my head and heart and just needed to be transcribed in a cohesive format onto the page. I forgot that though there may be things weighing heavy, that God is at hand for an unleashing of His peace. Instead of rejoicing, instead of praying about those things that are weighing heavy on my mind and heart, instead of inviting the peace of God to enter in and surround me on all sides, I mulled and brooded...on the couch...in my skivvies...
And then God spoke to my heart. How can you encourage the people you teach to rejoice when you are choosing to mourn? How can you expect my peace to permeate your life when you aren't completely releasing all of your concerns to me? Ummm, where is your thanksgiving? How about shifting your thinking to all things just, pure, noble, lovely, virtuous and praiseworthy?
As always, God was right.
And so, I am grateful to have spent six awesome days with my husband in Jamaica. I am grateful to have a home and vocation to return home to. I am most grateful for the love of God, which always meets me where I am, picks me up, and gets me moving again. And in this moment, I am glad that I can be a living witness of what happens when one rejoices in the Lord, always...
(and oh yeah, I'm glad to be writing again...)