Here is a copy of the September newsletter I wrote for our chapel.
It has been said that we are living in anxious times. People are concerned about the economy, unemployment is still high, the stock market is turbulent and the country is still fighting two wars. In response to these things we are seeing proposed changes some basic areas of budgeting for the government with the defense budget getting a big hit. Living on a military installation we can’t but feel the weight of these changes as we hear about FY 13 and FY 14. We don’t know what decisions will be made and we don’t know how this will impact our lives and our future plans. This is a recipe for fear and worry both of which can steal our joy and deaden our life now.
It doesn’t take a change in the federal economy to increase our anxiety. For many it is closer to home. One person I know in the States is working through some significant health issues that will require surgery in the near future. Others are working through grief, issues with children or aging parents. Some are dealing with personal financial challenges. The list of life challenges seems as endless and varied are there are people and the temptation is to live in a state of constant worry, fear and general unease. No one really wants to live this way but in many cases it feels like the only way.
There is a different way to live life. It seems hard to believe but it is doable. In Philippians 4:6 St. Paul writes “Do not worry about anything, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. As we give things to the Lord in prayer it is helpful to think about whose hands are requests are being given.
It is into the hands of Christ that our requests go. These hands know hard work in a carpenters shop. These are the hands that touched lepers and made them well. These hands took little children into them and pronounced blessing and wholeness in their lives. These hands reached out and took Peter by the hand as he was sinking down. These hands took the dead hand of a little girl and spoke life into death. These are the hands that broke bread and blessed wine. The hands of Christ were laid bare on the cross and had nails driven into them so that we might know and experience the depth of the Father’s love. The hands of the risen Christ still have these marks as an eternal reminder of the love, forgiveness and new life offered. It is these hands that reach out to us in invitation as he says “follow me”.
If we spend time meditating on the hands of Christ, we can’t help but feel a profound thankfulness that these are the hands that hold each life as if it were the only life to hold. This is no better place to be than in the scar stained hand of Christ. When we come to realize that our lives are constantly held in love then when we pray we can simply let our requests be made known and then trust that He who gave his life will work in ours. The result is the gift of peace. When worry or fear starts to build go back to meditating on whose hands hold your life. Instead of focusing on the issue, focus on Christ and be thankful that God loves you.