Friday, August 30th
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NRSV)
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for in the Lord God
you have an everlasting rock.
When I was in elementary school, my stomach hurt every day during the recess period that followed lunch. At first my young mind reasoned that stomachaches were just part of life, until I realized they only happened during recess. So, for a while I thought recess was to blame, until I recognized that eating lunch caused the problem. Then one day my mom happened to put an apple in my lunch instead of a banana. I went to recess- and was surprised and thrilled to feel fine! My nausea wasn’t from life, recess or lunch, but only from the banana. A small difference in my lunchbox made a big difference for me. The rest of the year went much better!
We have thought quite a bit about the choices we make and the foods we eat this week. Today we are flipping our perspective a bit, to think about those things that eat at us, the things that nag us, bother us, and consume our thoughts. I know I’m not alone when I awaken during the night and feel as if something is troubling me. Or when I’m going through my day and realize that I have been distracted, not fully present to the moment. Or when I find I am clenching my teeth. Or my stomach feels a vague uneasiness and my soul feels unsettled.
“What’s bothering me?” I ask myself when I notice I’m uptight. “Oh yes… it’s this trouble that’s gnawing at me.”
The older I become, the more I understand that this awareness is just the beginning of any steps toward healing or problem solving. Usually the first trouble I name isn’t the actual reason, but only a step toward discovering the true problem. When my stomach hurt at recess years ago, I initially understood the pain as just a normal part of life, then reasoned that it came from recess and lunch, and finally learned that it was only the banana that caused the trouble.
We can’t begin to solve a problem until we have truly discerned the real problem. The problem needs to be clarified and specified before we can address it accurately- and at times, we find that we have been blaming the wrong thing. The more we can pare our troubles down to a specific one, the better we are able to help ourselves. I have found so often that once I name the specific and accurate reason why I am troubled, the trouble naturally seems smaller!
In all of our troubles, God is our one true source of peace. God already knows what is truly and specifically bothering us. What’s eating you? God is ready to help reveal the trouble… resolve the problem… remove the hurt… remedy the wounds… and restore our peace.
See you tomorrow.