In a recent morning reading I was both blessed and challenged by this prayer:
“Thank You, Holy Spirit, for brooding over the chaos of my world and within my inner being. Fill me this week as I seek to host You with generous attention and joy.”
As I pondered the chaos brought by Cyclone Gabrielle this week, I noticed the varying reactions it has provoked from different people.
For those merely lamenting the closure of schools and experiencing lockdown déjà vu, the last couple of days have been an exercise in waiting. Waiting for the cyclone to begin; waiting for the intrusion to end.
Unfortunately, many in New Zealand are experiencing loss of home, livelihood, and connection with the rest of the country. For them, the waiting will be prolonged, and their life circumstances may never return to “normal”.
Like the weather, life can be chaotic and overwhelming. It’s easy to think, “I’ll make time for Jesus when I’ve sorted out this thing, or when I’ve resolved that issue, or I’ve done this task”. The New Testament gives some great examples of this: the busyness of Martha vs the settled attention of Mary (Luke 10:38-42), and the would-be followers of Jesus who couldn’t let go of family affairs (Luke 9:59-62).
The good news is that we don’t have to wait to find the peace and rest that is available to us in the presence of our Heavenly Father. We might not know how to pray for those in need in the aftermath of the cyclone, but it begins with glancing out of the window at the weather, stilling our spirits for a moment, and simply asking, “Lord, have mercy.” The more we learn to give Christ our attention despite the chaos that surrounds us, the more we’ll learn to experience His rest. The chaos, then, is an invitation to enter into Christ’s rest; to be still and know that He is God. As the psalmist declares:
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalm 91:1
– Duncan Rumbold