Are you ever afraid, either for valid reason or for over-worrisome thoughts? Sometimes we look at life first with fear, as opposed to opportunity. Fear can turn us away from the obstacles God needs us to face in order to better ourselves, and find our true purpose as His people. I know for myself, starting a new class when I'd hoped to be finished and graduated earlier can sting, another challenge to face, new people to meet, more tests to take. However, perhaps it's a challenge necessary for moving forward. Perhaps the lessons learned from this class will better my knowledge as a teacher. I'm sure you have these same fears and worries in your life, making it difficult to step out and face the day. However, everything God gives us, is for a reason, and a purpose, even if we don't know it.
Today's Gospel states:'But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged'(John 16:5-11).
Today's reading talks about how Jesus is going back to the one who sent him, to God. If he didn't go to God, God would not be present to us now, or at least, not in the same extent. Through Jesus' suffering on the cross, his death and resurrection, God brings grace, healing and reconciliation to the world. God brings us a sign of hope, that any challenge can be overcome, and that we can face everything with joy, even death. Take some time to pray to God about the things that scare you, your fears and worries, and give them to God, asking for healing and hope.
Today's prayer comes from 'the guided life', a prayer against worry, fear and anxiety:
Most gracious and loving God,
I don’t know what to do.
I am filled with anxiety, fear, and worry.
These feelings have taken over me, and I can no longer control them.
I can’t keep living like this anymore.
It’s not living.
I feel paralyzed, trapped, with no way out.
Help me find a way out of my anxiety, fear, and worry.
As I say this prayer, I realize that I have been pushing you away, along with pushing away your love, and your peace.
I’ve allowed these thoughts of anxiety, fear, and worry to take control.
I forgot what your Word says, that there is no fear in love, and that perfect love casts out fear.
I forgot that your love for me is perfect. You love me just as I am, and especially when I am anxious, fearful, and worried.
I forgot that love never fails.
All of this anxiety, fear, and worry has blocked your peace that surpasses all understanding.
I choose to surrender this anxiety, fear, and worry to you.
Right now, I will just sit and be still in your presence.
I welcome your loving, healing presence beside me and within me.
Fill me with your peace.
Fill me with your love.
Cast out my anxiety, fear, and worry.
Whenever anxious, fearful, and worried thoughts return, I will tell them to, “be still – hush!”
I will focus instead on your loving, peaceful presence leading me and guiding me.
I will remember that you are always with me.
So, I will trust you more.
In the name of your Son, the Prince of Peace,