The One Essential of Life

[Jesus said]“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food . . . Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.” (John 6:27 MSG)

The clock moves on
but God is still,
Hurried flesh knows not his will.

Like Mary, we must turn aside,
deny ambition,
give up pride,
leave our projects,
choose to wait.

We cannot love unless we hate.
We cannot live unless we die.

God will not rule
while we still try.
He will not force us to repent
but soon our days
will all be spent.

Jesus waits.
Time hurries on.
Choose Jesus, now, before time’s gone.

(Poem from, “Heart Connections: Finding Joy through Openness with God” by Jane Ault 2003.)

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I got up and read a few chapters in Paul Tournier’s book, “The Healing of Persons.” In it, he speaks about the necessity of accepting realities and conditions of life, such as the boundaries of time and limits of aging.

I’ve resisted these limits for too many years, priding myself about my ability to keep going regardless of my age. As I read last night, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. He showed me I’ve been lying to myself. To believe I am capable of doing everything I did when I was a few decades younger and doing it with as much speed as I did back then is a lie.

Does accepting my present limits mean what I have to offer has less worth? Not at all! The reverse is true. For example, when I accept and yield to speed limit signs, I feel more relaxed. I stop looking around for a police car.

The truth is: Refusing to accept and set limits makes me more limited. When I involve myself in everything, I fail to accomplish important things. What are the important things? There is only one.

In a conversation he had with two women, Mary and Martha, Jesus defined the one important thing in life– connection with Jesus.

Consumed with many things, Martha felt worried and stressed. Focused on Jesus, connecting with him, Mary found joy and peace. (This story is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10.)

Jesus is my teacher. As I stay connected to him, he gives me clarity about everything else in my life. What to do. What not to do. His Spirit is my personal instructor. As I read Scripture, he highlights the words I need for the day.

Jesus is my Creator. As I rely on him, he gives me the strength to do that which is important. Jesus is my Saviour. When I miss my cues and wander off into rabbit trails, he corrects, forgives, and restores me.

Jesus is my constant companion and closest friend. When others I’ve loved have died or moved away, he’s remained. Staying connected with him is the one essential of life.

Finding Peace in the Midst of COVID-19 Devastation

He [God] will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. He will see full justice given to all who have been wronged. (Isaiah 42:3 NLT)

Is “devastation” not an appropriate word to describe the condition of this country and the world? Often, I weep. My heart pounds. I can’t sleep. I feel outraged. I don’t want to express this with hurtful and destructive words. Neither do I want to hide in fear.

What do I do? I pray. I spend time in silence. With Jesus. I sit on my deck or go for a walk and view the clouds, trees, water, sunset. I listen to singing birds and quacking geese.

After a while I have peace. The Spirit stirs up a new melody in my heart. I write a song or poem. The following is an example. May your heart be encouraged as you read it.

Troubled heart, remember Jesus
He is good. He is kind
To the fallen, he shows mercy
He’s the healer of your mind
In the midst of deep anxiety
When you’re tossing in the night
Ask the Spirit for discernment
Receive his comfort and insight

He says, "My child, I love you
"Come closer to me
"You were a captive to Evil
"I died to set you free."
Fearful heart, call on Jesus
No one’s higher than he
In his strong arm, he will hold you
When in the smoke you cannot see
In the night of terror and darkness
When all normal help is gone
What you knew is nonexistent
Listen to your Savior’s song

He says, "My child, I love you
"Come closer to me
"You were a captive to Evil
"I died to set you free."
Anxious heart, cling to Jesus
Treasures of this world are dung
Unless you’re willing to release them
You won’t win the victor’s crown
In a time when many shout
“Arm yourself!” or “Retreat!”
Stand for justice, love, and mercy
Stay with Jesus on the street

He says, "My child, I love you
"Come closer to me
"You were a captive to Evil
"I died to set you free."
Jane Ault