Peace

john-14-27OK, so maybe I’m bragging a little, but a mom’s entitled. Right?

My son is an amazing dad, and to watch as his three little kids run to him for comfort blesses me beyond belief. Tears disappear as he cuddles and comforts, for in his arms they feel safe and loved; in his arms they have peace.

From an adult perspective, the traumas that send a child fleeing to a parent for comfort may seem very insignificant; but an ‘owie’, hurt feelings, sibling squabbles, a scary dream, anything that shatters his/her peaceful world seems as big a deal to them  as do the things that shatter ours.

As 2017 looms large on the horizon, there are certainly a lot of issues with which to be concerned. Whether our problems are personal, national, or international; there is much that would make us yearn for a place of rest and safety. Fortunately, such a place does exist, and we can rush headlong into the loving arms of our Father to be comforted just as readily as my grandchildren run to my son. Jesus understood this well, as He encouraged His disciples:

Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 32-33)

About a hundred and fourteen years ago, Cleland B. McAfee wrote “Near to the Heart of God” from a place of personal grief and loss. Modeling Jesus, he also knew from Whom his strength came:

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
Refrain:
O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God;
Hold us, who wait before Thee,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

Over 2000 years ago, God was there for Jesus’ disciples; over a century ago He was there for Mr. McAfee; and He is still there for us today. May we all rest in His peace today, tomorrow, and throughout 2017.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Melodies of Love

“It’s the time of the season for loving.”  The phrase played over and over in my mind like a broken record, and I had to laugh—who’d ever think the LORD would use the Zombies’ song from the 60s—a song that exemplified the “summer of love”—to croon a message to one of His children.

Often, especially when life seems difficult, the LORD comfort’s me with music; sometimes a whole song and other times just a phrase.  While it may be an old hymn or a contemporary worship song, it’s just as likely to be popular music with no seemingly spiritual message; at least not until He sings it to me.

On one occasion, my life was in turmoil and I awoke to hear selected phrases from two songs.  First, “…angels doing cartwheels in the sky…” set to the music of Freddy Hayler’s, Song of Angels; followed by a lullaby, “…and the living is easy…hush little baby, don’t you cry,” from Gershiwn’s Summertime.  Just God’s way of saying, “Relax, calm down, laugh, be patient,” I guess.

On another morning, He professed His love as I heard His voice, sounding remarkably like Nat King Cole, crooning, “I Remember You; You’re the one who made my dreams come true…You’re the one who said ‘I love you too’…Didn’t you know?”   Who ever knew God is such a romantic?

One night I had a dream in which I was surrounded by a bunch of friendly, soft, cute, furry, little smurf-like creatures in a worship service.  I’d never seen anything quite like them before.  There were all ages—one adult especially seemed to be an old friend, and there were lots of babies; even three sets of triplets.  What fun!  As I awoke I heard, “All creatures of our God and King; lift up your voice and let us sing; Hallelujah, hallelujah.”  Hallelujah Indeed!

Another time, waking from a dream involving cars it was, Baby You Can Drive My Car.  How could I not begin the day laughing with “beep beep’m beep beep yea” echoing through my mind?

Six years ago, as I was battling breast cancer and feeling overwhelmed, it was Let’s Get Away From It All, and I’d soon find a quiet place of rest in my LORD.  Or I’d make it through a difficult day and hear, “There She Goes; there she goes again.”

My Father always keeps his eye on me.  Indeed,

I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.   He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

My response is to sing back to him in praise and thanksgiving, “How great is my God; sing with me; how great is my God; all will see; how great, how great is my God.”