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When Life Happens

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7, NRSV

It’s that time of year: it’s “hurricane season” on the Gulf coast. So once again, Pat and I are going through the exercise of making sure we check and replenish, as necessary, a variety of goods in our “emergency supply boxes,” which reside under the bed. We need current canned goods, new batteries, double check first aid kit supplies, Sterno© for the camp stove, gas for the generator, quarters, cash, grab bag with important documents, and the list goes on.

As we read the checklist taped to the top of each of our six waterproof containers, I found myself going down a “rabbit trail” related to a variety of other types of life-crisis situations. As I reached the end of each trail in my mind, I realized that no matter how well I prepare with ‘things,’ there can still be some situations that happen for which I am just not emotionally prepared; times when I might feel afraid, alone, abandoned, attacked or betrayed; times when the boxes of stuff under the bed would not suffice to carry me through the moment.

I also realized that over the years, I have filled and stored other boxes, boxes in my heart and in my mind that are packed with things that bring light into even the darkest of hours. During those moments when my canned goods and batteries will not suffice, I turn to words that bring peace and calm even in the midst of the raging storms of life. They are words that are ingrained in the fiber of my spiritual being. Words like:

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...” Psalm 23:4
“Our Father who art in heaven...” Matthew 6:9, BCP
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
“O Lord my God, in thee do I take refuge” Psalm 7:1
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love as Christ loved us…” Ephesians 5:1-2

So when “life happens” and you feel out of control or in the dark, what are your “go to” words for sustenance? I hope you have a few. If not, I encourage you to spend some time reading scripture. And, of course, you are more than welcome to borrow some of mine.
The Rev. Robert E. Wareing
Pastoral Associate
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