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Do not let your hearts be troubled;

John 14:1a

There is so much that seeks to trouble my heart these days – a society that seems to have lost its mind – with an inability or unwillingness to get along with each other, everyone seemingly out for themselves, censorship of ideas, religious persecution, human trafficking, women aborting their babies at a rate of 2,500 every single day in the US. In addition to all the pain and suffering of the world at large, add on all that my friends and family are going through – grief over the loss of loved ones, physical and mental health struggles, financial worries as the cost of everything skyrockets.

Indeed, Jesus knew the troubles we would encounter when he said these words more than two thousand years ago. And he gives us the answer for our troubled hearts immediately following the sentence above … “Have faith in God; have faith in me.” (John 14:1b) The peace for our troubled hearts comes from faith in God and in Jesus.

The answers to this big mess we live in will not come from man (or woman), but rather from God and Jesus. When we look to people, we get what we have now – self-interest, chaos, hatred and violence. When we turn to God we get love, hope, and peace. While indeed we are all called to be part of God’s loving solution to work to bring love, hope, and peace to the world, we cannot give what we do not have. So how do we get it? We need to unplug from the world for a bit, turn to God, listen, and accept the love, hope and peace He offers us. It can be a struggle to “find” this time in our day. I spent years trying to “find” it – thinking it would magically appear if I looked hard enough. Eventually I realized I had to make the time – reserve the time - schedule the time, to ensure it happened each and every day. The only way I can make that happen is first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person, so that is a real battle for me. But I have seen that every day that I get up early and sit with the Lord, my day is more peaceful, I am less troubled, and my faith increases.

For the last few years, I have been diligent about taking a weekly Sabbath as well. I figured if God made it the Third Commandment, it must be pretty important. How challenging it was to arrange all the work that needed to be done for my ministry, and to maintain my house and daily life, into six days. But what an amazing grace it has been to spend one day every week being filled up instead of pouring out. Sunday is my favorite day of the week now because I focus on what restores me – God, family, friends, fun, and rest. On this one day of the week, I turn off all input about the state of the world's troubles, in order to focus on the One who will solve them.

I also go away to be with God more intentionally every year. I spend five glorious days in a cabin unplugged from the outside world with only one intention – to listen to God. And He never disappoints. During that time away I receive healing, answers to worries, and insights and direction for my life. Slowly but surely, year after year, my faith increases as I see God at work and realize how He always brings good from the bad that happens in our lives. This gives me hope when I see the mess our world is in, realizing that even now, God is at work, laboring to bring about the good He desires, even if I can’t see it.

Yes, the world is troubled. But because of all I receive during these intentional times with God, I am not so much. And this frees me to participate in the work God has given me in His great project of bringing more peace, love, and hope to this world. Will you join us?

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