The Week of Peace
As your peace rules in our hearts, we give thanks to you, Lord, and rejoice in the birth of the Prince of Peace. Amen
Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson
By Matt Allen
The slaughtering of 11 souls at the Tree of Life synagogue. The devastation of the California wildfires. The increasing coarseness of our political dialogue. Against this backdrop, Paul’s exhortations in Philippians 4 strike a dissonant chord. Rejoice in the Lord always? Don’t be anxious about anything? Really?
Paul had seen enough of life to know we’d all experience disappointment, devastation, and heartbreak. He wasn’t promising an anxiety-free life. From his dusty jail cell, he was pleading for us to anchor our lives in the sovereignty of God — the promises of God to His people through the ages — no matter what setbacks might buffet our journey.
But what does this steadfast anchoring of our spirits to God’s sovereignty look like? I think it looks a lot like the 19th century preacher George Matheson. As a young man, Matheson told his fiancé that he was going blind. Her cold response wounded him forever: “I do not want to be the wife of a blind man.” Years later, on the eve of his sister’s wedding, his old disappointments came rushing back. He presented his hurt to God and wrote these words:
“O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.”
Holy Father, forever remind us that we are fettered tightly to your heavenly throne. And as you draw us closer to that throne, lift our weary hands to trace your rainbow through the rains that come. Amen.