Friday, March 2, 2012

Peace and Rest

This Lent, my home church is doing a sermon series on "Decisive Moments in the Life of Christ," which began last Sunday with "Birth" and used the text for the Annunciation. Therefore, this week's poem, which was written during Advent 2010, serves as a nod to my favorite fellowship as well as a reminder of what should be the spirit of Lent--slowing down a bit and giving God time to speak to us.

Though sometimes I wish it, few of us have the option of going into the wilderness for forty days as Jesus did. But we can declare a "wilderness time" of sorts in our daily life. I recently read an article, "A Desert Time or a Dry Season?," that cast beautiful light on what a Christian's "desert time" should be--not the desolation and deprivation most of us picture, but "a time of refreshing, a quiet season, a time that I came to know the still small voice of the Lord, and to recognize His voice from the voice of man and my own voice." If we can't get away physically from our ordinary lives, we at least can make a special effort to put aside most of the nonessentials, to cry out to God from the depths of our hearts, to seek out that special and sacred "prayer place" that may be waiting quietly to be discovered within easy walking distance. We can take extra prayer time for the express purpose of asking God to teach us to thirst for His Word and His presence above all material concerns.

As many a Southwesterner will testify, the desert can be a place of beauty as well as of mystery, awe, and--perhaps most important of all--peace and silence. It is in the wilderness that we find God's rest.

Life moves at a frantic pace,
Everything a speeding race;
Pounding hearts fill every chest:
Where can we find peace and rest?

In the world of Roman days,
Life, as now, had fretful ways:
Few did let their strivings cease
When the angels sang of peace.

Christ was born to bring us love,
Flowing pure from Heaven above:
Wise men traveling pathways west
Saw in Him true peace and rest.

From the Manger to the Cross,
Christ walked earth to seek the lost.
Now, as then, the eye that sees
Knows He is our Rest and Peace.

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