A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.
~ Proverbs 18:4
Most people know that I just simply like to write. I was that kid in high school that loved the exercise where the teacher told you to put your pencil on the paper and just begin to write about what comes to your mind. I can remember starting out, "So the teacher wants us to put our thoughts on paper without thinking about what to write. Well, I think..."
Five minutes later, and often several pages later, I had discussed everything from my trip on the bus that morning, to what I thought about the girl sitting next to me in class, to wondering if it would matter if I drew a single line across the page, noting that I was someone deep in thought?
Now days I realize that this is often how I approach my prayer time with God. You know, the first intention is to be in a conversation with God, giving thanks for the day, and perhaps the Astros win the other night, even though it was one minute till midnight and I had to be up just six hours later. I then turn to the list of things that I need to get done today. Watching the clock to make sure that I get on the road in time to catch the last traffic jam.
But then there are those intimate things that seem to cause my sleep to be interrupted at night. Finances, health, kids, grandkids, parents, an upcoming trip, an examination next month, and asking myself, "Why is it that these things bother me so much in the middle of the night when I have all day to think about these things, Lord?"
The last few weeks I have heard a verse from John 14 spoken to me and I have also shared it, "Do not let your heart be troubled."
Funny how that all seems to work. Or in some cases, it simply doesn't.
Sometimes I wish that I could write my way through all of these things, then turn the page to discover that the world is a peaceful place, and that we all lived "happily ever after." Having read the Bible in its entirety, I can certainly relate to the Psalmist, the dear Disciples, and a few other people who lived through times where they simply felt that they needed to write their way through the experience.
"Do not let your heart be troubled," inspires, comforts, and reminds us of those who have "been there, done that... and survived."
The words of Jesus, encapsulated by listeners and challenged by readers, leads us to a better understanding of what our faith is to be about, and reminds us that in the course of our daily lives to take time to love ourselves and one another. To affirm, and be careful to pull planks of wood from our own eyes before we comment on the minute specks in the eyes of others. To remember that we are to seek joy in all things, while battling to survive depression and grief. To not let our hearts be troubled challenges us when an innocent black woman is shot through a window of her own home by a man sworn to protect society, and our soldiers are on foreign soil for questionable reasons. When we are reminded that God sent Jesus into the world to save the world, not condemn the world, it is then when we struggle to understand how it is that Jesus came so that ALL might have life.
We are simply challenged. To talk with God and to communicate with others. To lay down, not necessarily our life, but our phones, so that we can look at our neighbor in the eyes and listen when they began to open their hearts to us.
As I write this morning, I hope that my words eventually lead me, and others, to a place where peace, forgiveness and love can soon appear between the lines, commas, and periods.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.