July 3

In the spring, I felt the need to get away.  The past year had been a difficult one with decisions I didn’t want to make but had to:  with frustrations caused by plans altered by the weather; with disappointments and changes to life that grieved me.  So I took a three day journey that took me along a scenic highway half up a mountainside. From that elevated road I could look down at the river meandering below, and across the valley to the mountain that descended to the river  from the other side of the valley.  The mountain was decked out in the fresh, promising light green of spring foliage. It was a calming and pleasant sight.  Yet even as I soaked it in, it occurred to me that beneath that foliage and mountain grandeur there was life in struggle---animals foraging for food and other animals watchful lest they become that food; young life struggling to survive the helpless days of dependency on their parents; even illness that meant that some of that wild life may not see the warm and less brutal days of summer. 

            But even as I pondered those thoughts, the peace of the larger view struck me as a symbol of the peace of God.  It is bigger and more permanent than the limited  challenges to life’s safety, survival, and security.

            Then it hit me---I’d thought I was “getting away” on this trip.  I was really getting back to a realistic perspective.  Life gets chaotic sometimes, but the peace of God and of God’s presence is always bigger and more reassuring than the chaos.  That Sunday, the part of the service of worship that filled me with a “yes” was the benediction when the minister said, “The peace of the Lord fill your hearts and lives.”  

            Whatever threats and storms you face just now, remember the presence of a loving and redeeming God whose mercy is greater than we can take in and who is ever directed toward our good. Breathe that prayer and experience a peace that passes understanding.

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