Just when you think you got it figured out

Thoughts on John 16:29-33

At last, the disciples think they get it. They can finally make sense of what Jesus has been talking about and doing, they got him nailed down; Jesus is no run of the mill teacher, he is from God. Based on this understanding they can believe he is who he has said he was. Whew, glad that’s settled.

But no, Jesus won’t let them rest on their laurels. He shakes their new found confidence by letting them know that in a few hours they are going to desert him; they won’t remember their belief that he is from God. In fear they will abandon him and flee for their lives. And he is ok with that. For his belief is never shattered. He knows he is from God and the Father is always with him, even if his closest friends turn their backs.

And he doesn’t hold their betrayal against them. He warns and then assures them. Away from me, you are going to run into trouble; but don’t worry, I handle trouble. Stick with me and your heart will remain at peace. 

Jesus, you are glad when I gain some new spiritual insight, but the insight is not the goal. You are the goal. The insight can be driven away from my consciousness. In fact this is my reality. I sit with you, you share your voice of love with me, I write it down; and then it remains a note in my journal and retires to the back of my mind as I get up and begin the day’s activities. No wonder I have trouble in my day – irritation easily invades, impatience is my normal reaction, ruled by old habits. What can I expect when I leave you behind as I rise from my prayer chair?

You know me so well, my lapse of memory is no surprise to you! You encourage me to maintain hope. You continually call to me:  Relax, don’t beat yourself up, come back to me, with me you’ll find peace, patience and strength. Friends who have auditory issues wear a hearing aid to increase their ability to hear. Lord, equip me with one. I don’t want to miss your whispered invitations to peace.

Thank you and amen.

A prayer for inauguration day

Psalm 85:8-13
Listen for what the Lord will speak to you today. He will speak peace. Whenever I turn to him, his peace will be mine. I need such a peace, Lord. Our world needs such peace. Let us fear you, receive your salvation and display your glory. Oh, my heart says, “If only it were so, if only steadfast love and faithfulness were to meet in our country.” I doubt it’s ability to happen. Yet I must hold hope; for I can practice love and faithfulness; the women at the retreat tomorrow* can practice love and faithfulness and it will be more likely experienced. As we practice faithfulness here in our lives your righteousness will rain down upon the places we tread. Loving God, let your righteousness go ahead of us, making a way for our feet to follow. Amen.
* Tomorrow I am leading a retreat on the subject of Hope in San Francisco, CA.

The great exchange: despair for confidence!

It’s crazy, I know. But maybe you, like me, are living on the edge of despair.

God certainly got my attention this morning in my daily lectio divina reading. “I will hear what the Lord has to say.” Ps 85:8-13 Ok, Lord, what have you got to say? (from my prayer journal)

“Peace.” Peace because we belong to you. Thank you. Peace because we are your friends. Thank you. Peace because we turn to you in our hearts. Thank you. Your help is near; Glory, come dwell with us here at 246 Willow Tree Road.

Mercy and Faithfulness have joined arms; justice and peace are best friends. This property, this home at 246 Willow Tree Road will produce God’s faithfulness and God will be God in his judging of our lives. Look down, Oh God, and see your own faithfulness growing in our lives and in our land. Go ahead of us, Lord, we will follow you; where you tread, favor blossoms, fruit blooms. Your justice goes ahead of you and peace and I follow in your steps.

And God continues: Isaiah 12:2. You are my savior, I can be confident and unafraid. You are my strength and courage, you have always been my savior. Dan 10:19. Fear not, beloved, you are safe; take courage and be strong.” 2Cor 4:1 since we have this ministry through the mercy show us, we are not discouraged.

I must admit, though, I read these words and my gut reaction is fear. What is going to happen today that will require me to have such confidence and courage? I fall on your mercy and ask your forgiveness for my doubt and healing of my wounded soul that assumes the worst.

Join me, if you can, in taking God at his word and exchanging your despair for confidence whatever this day holds.

MM 9/17/15 prayers, please.

Hello dear ones,

Many of you have heard that I was diagnosed with uterine cancer yesterday. I feel the peace of Christ during this time, but of course, covet your prayers. I got these encouraging words from a dear friend this morning. May they bless you as they did me. Debby
The most frightening and wrenching times are not faceless, terrible chaos in which we are tossed, nameless and forgotten.

They are well known by our God who experienced that darkness for us in order to redeem and transform what looks broken and finished in our lives into the very glory, hope and promise of Good.

You are known by God and deeply loved. 

There is no frightening place you can go — no terrible journey that you can take — where God’s transforming Presence will not also go, ahead of you, within you and behind you.

With the paradoxical truth that in the darkest, most scary times, our God is able to draw even closer, work even deeper, be even more tangibly present than other times.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/139577056″>MM 9/17/15 prayers for me, please</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/debbybellingham”>Debby Bellingham</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Emmanuel.  Emmanuel.  Emmanuel. Now and in the days ahead.