“Learn to cultivate a deep awareness of the abiding presence of God.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 25, 2021
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:36-39, ESV
We are coming out of one of the most divisive, disorienting, and destructive years in recent memory. As a pandemic spread like wildfire around the globe, the threat of physical sickness brought with it countless challenges, stretching our bonds of common love to a breaking point. Though everyone’s story is unique in some way, there is a shared, collective anxiety that has shaped the entire world in one way or another.
As we leave behind this pandemic, the temptation is to think that we’ll leave behind our reasons for fear and anxiety, with nothing but clear skies and smooth sailing ahead! Let’s not be so naïve. While we may exchange one trouble for another, as long as we live, there will always be something that tempts us to live in a state of fear. This is the simple truth that comes from living in a bent and broken world.
I wonder though, while acknowledging the ever-present reality of sin and suffering in our world, can we cultivate an even deeper awareness of the abiding presence of God?
In Luke 24, we encounter the apostles in a moment of acute grief and pain. The loss of their Lord and the associated feelings of fear and sorrow were almost too much for them to bear. And yet, Jesus speaks peace into their moment of profound chaos, revealing the ongoing way in which he was to lead and comfort his people. “Peace to you!” is not a simple affirmation of an already peaceful existence. No, it is light flooding into the very real darkness, driving out the fear that rooted its way into their hearts and lives.
The darkness is real – whether it is a global health crisis or the crisis of a failing relationship, the challenge of economic recession or the challenge of a distant and wayward child – yet if Jesus is with us in these places of pain, which he truly is, we must learn to receive these ancient words as his words spoken to us today: “Why are you troubled?”
Father, remind us that no matter what pain or sorrow we face, we have nothing to fear, for you are with us, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can you cultivate a greater awareness of the nearness of God in your life today?
Shane & Shane: Psalm 23
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