relaxing/resting in God

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

Psalm 62

We really need to learn to rest in God. And with that, as we might put it today, to learn to relax in him.

This is, mind you, in the real world. A world of conflict and trouble. Something I want to learn is to somehow rest in God in the midst of everything. To do that much more, much better, really to just begin to do that as a habit of life.

I say habit. We actually can’t control our experience. But we can do certain things. We can pray to God that he would help us there And I believe what we do as well as refuse to do can help us experience more of God’s peace. We shouldn’t give into fear, or thoughts which are disparaging of ourselves, of others, of life in  general. Instead we must submit all such to God, even as the psalmist does here. Trusting that God will help us. That can and will make a needed difference I believe, if we hang in there in faith and practice it, however imperfectly that is. In and through Jesus.

I want to add that some of us may need counseling and medication. Though I currently have not been doing either, I have in the past. No shame in that, and could actually help some of us to calm ourselves down, and practice trusting in God.

don’t worry. pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Don’t worry, be happy” was a saying going around from a song which has some truth to it, but superficiality as well. Not so what Paul tells us here. This is truth which speaks to where we live. But we have to apply it, put it into practice.

To do that, one ought to read the entire letter and let that soak in. And along with that, the rest of the New Testament, starting with the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). And the rest of Scripture. We need to see all of life within the big picture. God’s Story.

But we can start here. We’ll do this imperfectly for sure. We should just do it, refusing to be swallowed up with anxiety and worry. To be overcome with anxiety and possibly the panic that comes with that means we’re not trusting. We need to trust God no matter what. No matter what. And do what Paul tells us here. We’ll get the help we need. In and through Jesus.

*I want to add as a footnote to this post. Some may need counseling and medication. There is no shame in that, none whatsoever. That’s a part of being human. Before one goes that route, one should do what they can, hold their ground, and seek to trust. Sometimes there are both psychological and physiological factors that need to be taken seriously, which attended to, can help.

what to do with pain

There are days when it seems like you get up out of the wrong side of the bed. When thoughts, usually one at a time, but they can then come in streams, trouble you. Add to that, you might have a chronic physical malady such as a headache, backache, or some other body ache from a past injury or physical condition. There’s no doubt that pain is a fact of life. It’s inevitable.

I think the worst pain is spiritual. Something gnawing in our souls. Actually the physical and especially the mental pain from discouraging thoughts often stem from the emptiness of, or any kind of attack on one’s spiritual well being. There just is no doubt, to underline the thought, that pain is a matter we off and on live with. Some chronic, like evidently Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. Or acute, for a period of time, sometimes a long time, but sooner or later passing.

First thing I would like to say in addressing pain: don’t give into it. At the same time, pay attention to what might underlie it. Physical pain can be a blessing if it can point us to the source of whatever problem we might have, so that it might be alleviated. Whatever other pain we have is probably indicative of something beneath the surface, coming up so that maybe through confession and prayer, and sometimes through counseling and medication we can deal with it.

Not giving into pain does not mean we either deny its reality, or simply get rid of it with the right formula. Instead we want to stand steadfast in faith regardless of whether or not the pain can be relieved or not. A big test of faith is simply to remain in it in bad times and good.

Pain can be a blessing because God may be bringing something to our attention that needs prayer and simply being present. Ultimately since we’re in Christ, pain should not be seen as threatening. It is a part of this life. Scripture tells us that someday all pain will be gone, but not in this life. Until that time, let’s accept the inevitable, and in faith and prayer find what is helpful in it. Above all, finding God’s presence and help through it. In and through Jesus.