MVLC Church Council Member Mary Beth Peterson’s devotion for Monday, April 20.

Philippians 4:4-7

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.

Song

Your Peace Will Make Us One by Audrey Assad.
Listen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTQWSfzY2mw

Psalm 69:15-18

Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.

Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies.

Devotion

This devotion is taken from Henri Nouwen’s daily meditation for March 18, 2020.

“Dare to Stand in Your Suffering”

I really want to encourage you not to despair, not to lose faith, not to let go of God in your life, but stand in your suffering as a person who believes that she is deeply loved by God. When you look inside yourself, you might sometimes be overwhelmed by all the brokenness and confusion, but when you look outside toward him who died on the cross for you, you might suddenly realize that your brokenness has been lived through for you long before you touched it yourself.

Suffering is a period in your life in which true faith can emerge, a naked faith, a faith that comes to life in the midst of great pain. The grain, indeed, has to die in order to bear fruit and when you dare to stand in your suffering, your life will bear fruit in ways that are far beyond your own predications or understanding. . . . Spend some time each morning doing nothing but simply sitting in the presence of God and saying the Jesus Prayer. Gradually, God will enter your heart in a new way and bring new light into your struggle.

Prayer

Jesus Christ, Saviour of the World, in the midst of all the uncertainty and pain, confusion and anxiety all around us , we dare, as people of God to proclaim you as the Risen One, the One who conquered death and the grave, the Messiah for whom the world has waited. We go to the tomb so often, Lord, looking for you and you are not there, because you have Risen. You have risen indeed.  Help us not to despair but to rest in your Peace, which passes all understanding. As long as we trust in You, Lord the waves and chaos of life cannot overwhelm us. Praise Be to God! In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Image: “Flood,” watercolor and India ink on watercolor paper, 2020, by Troy Kehm-Goins.