You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you [NKJV] Isaiah 26:3
Let your love, God, shape my life [MSG] Psalm 119: 41
In these differently difficult times, the ability to focus on anything for too long, even that germane to the preservation of life and livelihood, seems almost impossible. Somehow, even with lofty intentions, we seem, more often than not, to be caught in a maelstrom of doing, to the detriment of our being…with God.
Since the start of the year, I have been [prayerfully] accompanying a number of persons, as they journey through the kind of ill health that has term limits. One of the things I have found during this time, which has had a profound impact on my own ability to cope and to help others do the same, is availing myself of opportunities to be still…in God’s presence; to allow God to set the pace and direct my times of meditation…to never to be in a rush, lest in moving too quickly, I miss a word or image that is of life-abundant value.
In the scripture passages above, the Prophet and the Psalmist highlight, by implication, the essential nature of the discipline of stillness, to the blessing of living abundantly amidst life’s vicissitudes. The peace, of which Isaiah speaks, is not simply absence of conflict or pain. On the contrary, it is being able, within the conflict and/or the pain [whatever the genesis or outworking], to experience and hold fast, the loving presence of God, wrapped in omnipotence. In other words, we cannot…we will not be able to face and deal with life’s challenges, apart from daily i.e. constantly consistent reliance upon God, whose love for us, as indicated by the Psalmist, is able to shape and by extension, give meaning to our lives…even and especially in difficult times.
One of the friends with whom I am journeying wrote… “Despite what is undeniably the most difficult period of my life, I have had only sparing moments for worry or fret. I have been too preoccupied and focused on the expressions of love of family, friends and colleagues. This is truly amazing and I give thanks to Him that is love.”
When the songwriter penned the words… ‘In times like these we need a Saviour; in times like these we need an anchor…’ he was writing perhaps, from his own experience, not realising the timeless nature of his affirmation. That is why, continuing with the song, we are encouraged… ‘Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the solid rock…Jesus!’
This journey that is life, with all its twists, turns, hills and valleys, is made more tolerable, in fact, it is made as my sister-friend Mary Graham would say… “More wonder-filled”, when we open in full surrender, to God’s love, which is able, like my friend is finding, to see us through.
I believe my new favourite spiritual writer sums it up best in saying…
“The fact that I am deeply loved by God is increasingly the core of my identity, what I know about myself with most confidence. Such a conviction is I am convinced, the foundation of any significant Christian spiritual growth. [David Benner in: Surrender to Love].
With such surrender, no matter the difficulty of the times, we can…we will know God’s perfect shalom, as we allow our lives to be shaped by His love.
Challenge yourself in the coming days, to make a habit of sitting in God’s presence for at least ten  minutes each day. Have nothing to say, for the truth is, there is no information you can give to omniscient God. Instead, quietly listen and in listening, hear the gentle approach of omnipotent God and God’s even gentler whisper… “My child…I AM with you!”
Gracious God, someone once jokingly remarked… “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” How true a statement that is Lord; so hurried am I at times, I cannot sense let alone embrace your calming presence, and the more I do, the more I realise my insufficiency. God, I pause now to acknowledge your presence, your power, and possibilities that are mine in you. Even now Lord I wait, in anticipation of your coming, and by the enabling of your Holy Spirit, to feel…to know your nearness.
Gracious God, I surrender to your love and the peace which you offer…
Contributed by Canon Georgia ‘Grace’ Jervis