Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 32 of Lent: The Gift of Peace amid the Stresses of Life

He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!"  Mark 4: 39

Stress is one of the greatest threats to personal and spiritual well-being.  It is both destructive and addictive in nature.  Physicians report that more than 75 percent of patient visits are related to the negative impact of stress on persons' overall health.

Jesus the Healer calls persons to abundant life.  For Jesus, fullness of life involved the integration of challenge, risk taking, and hard work.  Jesus spent long days teaching, preaching, and healing.  He also regularly sought peace in quiet places.  As a model for persons today, Jesus' ministry balanced work with sabbath rest.

Stress and distress are often a matter of perspective and faith.  The biblical tradition challenges us to find sabbath rest amid the demands of our busy and challenging lives.  Psalm 46 describes a time of personal and national tumult and then counsels the faithful community to "Be still, and know that I am God!" (v. 10)  We can find a quiet center even in the most distressing times.

Think about these things:
God is with me in all the storms of life.
I experience peace in every situation.
Peace is only a moment away.
I experience peace in particular situations.

Loving God, amid the storms of life, calm my soul.  Remind me that you are always with me, and that in your presence, I cannot fail.  With your grace, I will remain calm amid stress and conflict.  In the stillness, let me hear your voice and know that I am safe.  In my safety, let me bring your calm to others.  Amen.

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