Today began with an email that was kind of hurtful, but mostly deeply frustrating. And then I started thinking about all the things I have to do today, and over the rest of the week. And before I was half a coffee into the day I had had enough of it. Before the sun was up I wanted to go back to bed.
Instead—because going back to bed wasn’t an option—I put my AirPods in and turned on a devotional app that I use, called Lectio 360. It follows a simple pattern every day, using the helpful acronym PRAY.
P - pause to recenter our scattered senses upon the presence of God
R - rejoice with/reflect on a passage of Scripture
A - ask—pray for others
Y - yield our will to God’s good will and way
The centering Scripture passage today was from Psalm 55: 6-8
O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; truly I would flee far away; I would hurry to find a shelter for myself from the raging wind and tempest.
“Raging wind and tempest” may be a bit much to describe my morning, but I was otherwise right there. And I think it’s a relief to come across prayers like this in the Bible. It’s a good reminder that the life of faith isn’t invariably happy or easy. It’s a reminder that our devotional and spiritual times are not required to stay apart from irritating emails and overwhelming schedules. In fact, the Psalms—the prayerbook of the Bible—encourage us to bring our whole selves, the good and the bad, the delightful and the disheartening into God’s presence, even when we’d rather fly off by ourselves to the wilderness.
And when we do that, when we allow all the mess and muck of our lives to come into God’s presence, we discover that we don’t have to run away from everything just to get a bit of rest and refreshment. We find that wilderness and separation is not what we need. What we need is God. We need the One who says “Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
It’s a marvellous thing to know that the One who made the heavens and the earth with a word will be both our source of strength, and our shelter. And that we need not run (or fly) away from the challenges of life, but we’re invited to run to the God who knows us and loves us, and whose will for us is good and very good. That’s the promise that brings rest for our souls, and hope for the day.