Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reflection for The Bridge

This semester I have involved myself in the Bible study of a campus ministry group called The Bridge. Although it is Methodist (pretty far from my religious sentiments) I have found the company excellent and the atmosphere pleasantly welcoming. In addition to this Bible Study group, The Bridge also does lunch for students once a week (which overlaps with one of my courses), and they publish a weekly newsletter. The newsletter contains a Reflection by one of the Bridge members. Last week I volunteered to write the reflection. Obviously this is for a popular audience and will not read as eloquent prose. Still, I enjoyed it. Here it is, as published:

Old Testament
"On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God."
Psalm 62:7-8

New Testament
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
John 14:27

God’s Peace, as it ever has been

by Ray Fulmer

Every Monday night - after long hours of teaching, learning, and testing - I look forward to winding down the night by walking my friend Amber to her car. We always have a number of things to talk about, but last night our usual chit-chat was cut short when her phone vibrated. It was a text from her brother: “The Dow Jones closed at -777, the largest single day drop in history. Remember to pray tonight.”

Amber closed the phone and without missing a beat informed me that she would not be praying for our stock market. I asked if she thought that it was a big deal, and her response surprised me. She said that she was not worried, and that we probably deserved it anyway. “Besides” she continued, “the worst that can happen is that we all have to live a little poorer for a few years. I’m cool with that. It’s nothing to worry God about.”

During my drive home I reflected on Amber’s attitude. I do not think that she was being sarcastic about not bothering God. I know that she is a prayerful woman. She was not planning to miss prayers that night; she was simply not going to bother God over the possibility of a little money loss.

Amber had done something very difficult – she had kept perspective. She has faith that God will deliver on his promises. We will be resurrected, we will live with Him forever, and in the meantime he loves us in our brokenness. Why get disturbed about the possibility of a lower standard of living, especially when we have little say in the matter? Her actions call to mind the “serenity prayer”, which is a prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr that I first heard at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It goes like this:

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Amen to that.


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