April 11: Peace In the Mess, John 20:19-20
Jesus wades into the darkness and dark places we find ourselves in and reaches out to us, God is always reaching out and making the first move for connection. Even though we must face these dark night of the soul times in our lives, Jesus never leaves us alone and offers of the blessing of “Peace be with you.” The Greek word is “I ray nay” meaning tranquility and wholeness. Wholeness sounds good when we are in these dark nights—Jesus offers peace in a pandemic, peace can spread exponentially just as sickness has spread recently.
April 18: Healing our Relationships in the Mess, Romans 12:1-2
Relationships are meaningful, and relationships are hard. Most of the time the deepest wounds of our spirit and most painful times in our lives come from a damaged relationship with another person or persons. During this time of pandemic there has been unprecedented stress on relationships. Love is 24/7 but usually our days and times together are not. There is more violence, depression, and sense of isolation, even if someone is not physically alone. Recently someone told me that church would be perfect “if not for the people.” But the church is the people. So how do we work to heal relationships and live our lives in loving communion with one another?
April 25: Becoming Stronger in the Mess, 1 Samuel
Hannah cried out in her dark night of the soul with sometimes just sounds rather than words. I have heard those cries in people before, in the loss of a loved one, a desire for a child, a grieving of a relationship—cries that go beyond words because the pain is beyond words. However as in the case with Hannah, people find comfort in these times through faith. Hannah dedicated herself and the child she desperately prayed for to God, even before God answered her prayer. She kept seeking out times and places to pray and remained faithful to her God even in the times she felt lost.
May 2: Finding Guidance in the Mess, Galatians 5: 16-17
God offers guidance in our messes when we turn towards Him and listen for his voice through continued prayer and daily time with God although that is difficult during dark nights of the soul. It is not good that we should be alone in these times. God has given us the gift of each other, and encouragement and word from God can come from those around us. Wise counsel comes from God, but also from devoted friends in faith, a spouse, a friend, or a trusted professional. Listen for the voices of guidance God has provided in your life. In your church, in your friendships, in your marriage. Who has God used to provide you with divine spiritual guidance? Do you listen to God closely when you are nudged to be that voice of encouragement and guidance for others?