The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple… They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers up all nations; he will swallow up death for ever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the son of man will give you… For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world… I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry… If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
We are broken and beautiful creatures, living in a broken and beautiful world, where nothing is ever completely perfect or utterly reliable, or free from pain and doubt. On this side of glory, we are sure of nothing, except our own craving for security, significance and purpose. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that I am in the best possible place to deal with the uncertainty of life in this world, because I have wisdom, perspective and a reason to hope that I will live in a perfect world, and I am therefore not utterly broken by the disappointments of this life.
In Jesus, I am freely given all I need to persevere in this life, glorifying God and putting my trust in him alone, instead of wasting my energy and breaking my heart over things which will pass and let me down. The question is whether I fully appropriate all that is mine in Jesus – do I make it my own, do I live by it?
In every situation in life, I can choose whether to react by focussing on the unknowns, on the (often valid) causes for anxiety – or to focus on the truth about God, about his power at work for good, and his character of love, faithfulness and mercy. What do I feed my spirit with day by day as I navigate this beautiful, broken world? Do I feed my fear, or my faith?
The bible talks about meditating on God’s word, which means pondering, repeating it to oneself, chewing it over in the same way that some animals repeatedly chew their food. It is a vivid image which conveys the sense that we are feeding on the word, finding nourishment and health, getting all the goodness out of it.
But it can be very easy to feed instead on my anxieties. When I am in difficult circumstances, am I meditating on all the things I can’t understand or control? On the things that I regret, or resent? On the ways I have been hurt or disappointed? On ways that I can take control, create some illusion of authority over my life? Or on the consequences of my actions, those things which may be hard for others? – that kind of chewing is not healthy for me, leads to spiritual weakness, and fear over the future
While those things may be true or real in my experience, I can see that making them the centre of my attention is not going to help me. Instead, I am invited to bring the whole messy bundle of worries and questions to my God, laying them at his feet and choosing a different diet for my mind.
As I choose to meditate on God’s word, on what is true about him, and what he says is true about me then I focus on facts, not unanswerable questions. As I choose to chew over my blessings, the faithfulness of God to his church and to me, then I have reason to praise him and to find hope. As I choose to worship him for who he is, regardless of what is happening and remember that he is God and I am not, then I remember who is truly in control and find peace. This kind of chewing is healthy for me, it feeds faith and builds resilience, maturity and hope for the future.
Let the consequences of your obedience be left up to God:
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
Loving Father, so much of my trouble comes from trying to work out all the details, not only for myself but for others. Let me learn to trust you with all the consequences of my obedience, and to remember that you love my precious people even more than I do, and are infinitely more able to work your plans for their good than I can imagine!
Lord, let me feed faith, by feeding on your word, by praising your greatness, by choosing to look at you and not at myself. Make me stronger, more resilient, a more faithful witness to you as I choose those things that feed faith, and reject those that feed fear. Help me to keep on doing this, day by day and hour by hour, for your glory and the blessing of many.