Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Philippians 4:1-9 (NRSV)
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Life as I knew it was in the early stages of drastic and traumatic changes. My brother was hospitalized for complications due to kidney cancer in August of 2016. This was his final hospitalization; he died a week later on Saturday, September 3, 2016–exactly one week before his 49th birthday. Since my brother’s death, there have been very few highs and many lows.
The week of the first anniversary of my brother’s death was by far the lowest week I had experienced since the previous September, despite the fact I was on a trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C. That week consisted of the anniversary of my brother’s passing, what would have been my father’s 75th birthday (he died from cancer in 1985), the remembrance of my brother’s funeral and his would-have been 50th birthday. To cap off the week, my 24-year-old niece, who recently joined the Marines, informed me that her ship-out date had been changed from January 2018, to September 18, 2017.
I felt as if my life was quickly spiraling out of control, and I could do absolutely nothing about it. Then I was reminded in Philippians 4:6-7 that I have nothing to worry about as long as I take my prayers and supplications to God. My downfall has been trying to fix things on my own, even if I can do nothing to change the situation. Sometimes I think I’d rather worry, but I don’t have to. All I have to do is focus my heart and mind on Christ Jesus. Doing so is easier said than done, but the good news is that it can be done.
Lord, help us to bring all of our concerns and joys to you. Help us not to push away, but to embrace your peace about which Paul tells us. Give us strength, Lord, to stand up against and journey through whatever this world throws at us. Amen.
Go with God.