Calvin’s is maturity.
Matt’s is perseverance.
Richard said his word is “love….love for myself” and I think that might be the bravest love any of us can have.
It was in our New Year’s Eve worship and we spoke about one word to be a focus for our new year. We just spoke a minute or two, a simple suggestion but after we said the Lord’s Prayer together a few came to tell me their word for the year.
I’ve flirted with the one little word challenge(?) in years past. A month or so into the new year I was lucky if I remembered the word. Last year I didn’t even try. Hadn’t two failed years taught me to give it up? I’ve never been one for resolutions either, knowing there’s less disappointment when personal expectations are kept low. After all, I don’t need annual resolutions to add to the internal pressure I place on myself.
I didn’t choose a word last year, but as the year was coming to a close a word found me and it was lament. That’s not a word you choose going into a year. It doesn’t point to joy, happiness, fulfillment or hope. As a movie, lament would be a tear-jerker. But it was also a word that brought healing.
There were many losses last year. Losses of life, of sobriety, of dreams and loss brings grief and grief brings healing. It’s a slow healing with no time constraints. Sometimes a scar develops and you think it’s healed over only to have the wound break open again. Often, the wounds will be tender for years. You have to remind yourself that feeling is better than numbing so you allow the grief to be a reminder of the joy and comfort of grace.
I made peace with lament and maybe that’s when I realized the word I need to rub off my rough edges is peace.
I’m flirting with disaster, I know. Peace? In this world?
14 To heal the brokenness of My people,
they offer superficial words.
They say, “Peace, peace,” as if all is well.
But there is no peace.
This world is noisy. Noisy with sounds of uncertainty, with quarreling and violence. Hate seems to scream louder than love or maybe hate just gets better ratings.
Living with an introvert provides many quiet evenings at home but the noise inside my head, the noise no one hears but me, is what wakes me in the middle of the night. The noise reminding me of what I forgot to get done, who I forgot to call, the prayers left unsaid. That noise is louder than the neighbor weed-whacking his lawn on an otherwise quiet day.
Jesus knew his future. He knew his purpose and that it included his crucifixion and resurrection. His birth was one of miracles and now, his death would prove to be another miracle many would never believe. He would prepare his followers for the time his physical body would leave them. His words spoke a peace that only He can give.
John 14:27 NLT “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Eugene Peterson in the Message says it this way:
“I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
Peterson acknowledges that the world often leaves us feeling abandoned and bereft. It comes from all sides: the government, family, friends, sometimes the church has left us feeling outcast and alone.
But Jesus says, He won’t leave us that way. Ever. And his presence brings peace.
That sounds big to me. I’ve not done well with peace. I get more than a little frustrated when I don’t get my way and patience is not part of my skill set. I’m thinking both humility and patience may have something to do with peace. Yes, this might be a little bigger than taking deep breaths.
It starts with acknowledging the presence of Jesus, Emmanuel. God with us. Breaking through the noise with His peace.