"You will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you" (Isaiah 26:3)
Another one of those rare moments of actual silence, with only the roar of a forestry truck grinding its gears in the distance. It is short-lived and much cherished, before two bounding bodies burst through the door with offerings of dirt-covered apple and beaming grimy faces. How can I resist. The sweetness fills my mouth while bits of sand grind between my teeth... Black and indigo-winged butterflies visit the kitchen garden, ground hornbills call from the tree-tops and the air is fragrant and warm. A peaceful picture, not?
It truly is, yet even in such a haven, there can be turmoil in your soul. The deception is that "stress" is caused only by an upheaval of external conditions, causing inner distress - ultimately leading to an inability to cope and illness. It is often believed that if the cause of "stress" could be removed, we would be content. I have witnessed different people deal with "stresses" like death and grieving, illness, tragedy, unimaginable pressure. There is a sense of deep loss, pain, fear, despair, weariness and at times, denial or anger. But ultimately, for those truly anchored in the Lord, there is acceptance and perfect peace, and believe it or not, joy. The storms may rage, but Jesus told the waves to be still and they "bowed down and said: excuse me Master". The sun rises again and the glory of the Son, no "stress" or worldly condition can dim. Let our minds be steadfast and our trust secure. The Lord is our Shepherd and we will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
|Original script of "It is well with my soul"|
Nine days later he received a telegram from his wife in Wales: "Saved Alone, what shall I do...". On November 2nd 1873, the "Ville de Havre" had collided with "The Lochearn", an English vessel. It sank in only twelve minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. His wife Anna had stood bravely on the deck, holding on to her daughters. Her last memory was of her baby being torn from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was saved from the fate of her daughters by a piece of debris that floated beneath her unconscious body. Her first reaction was of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, "You were spared for a purpose". She was reminded of the words of a friend, "It is easy to be grateful when you have much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God".
At times of stress or distress, it can be well with my soul. Have you ever had to follow a car in a maze of traffic? One cannot afford to take your eyes off the leading vehicle, regardless of who or what is beside or behind you. You memorise the registration number, the colour, model, whatever detail you need, to make sure that you do not loose sight of it. What "stress" it causes when you are distracted for a second and it disappears from your sight. What sweet relief, when you see its familiar shape waiting patiently for you next to the road.
And what fullness of joy we shall have when we get to our final destination.
|Picture: Nasa - Morning Star meets moon|
When peace, like a river,
attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot,
thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul...