Month 3:12, Week 2:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year:Day 5936:071AM|
7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #4
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 1 June 2012
Are You Happy? XI
Shalom Amidst Endless Agitation
Continued from Part 10
In a typical day we experience a wide range of moods, from elation to dejection, melancholia or just sheer tiredness. And at various points throughout the day we often question where we are in relation to Yahweh, especially as we recall the commandments that "men always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1, NKJV) and that we should "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess.5:17, NKJV). Given how unstable our levim (hearts) can be, this can at times be most challenging. But a mistake we often make is we then come to look upon prayer in terms of straining or forcing. Communication with Yahweh does not, however, work like that.
The essence of Christian prayer is the understanding that all we need to actually do is to quietly allow ourselves to be aware that, whatever we are feeling, Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus) is with us and within us. He is there in and through the depression or weariness or just plain indifference. We are not asked to force ourselves into anything but to simply rest in that central abiding shalom (peace) that we've been talking about which lies at the core of the being of one who trusts in Yah'shua (Jesus).
The shalom (peace) that Messiah offers does not come by shutting our eyes to the horrors of life. On the contrary, being inseparable from His ahavah (love) (Rom.8:35), it enables us to be open to these horrors without being overwhelmed by them. The shalom (peace) which Yah'shua (Jesus) offers does not involve a distancing of ourselves from the struggles of mankind for justice, order and shalom (peace) in the world but enables us to take our place in the struggle. But it does offer a fundamental inner steadfastness in the midst of the pain and turmoil of the world. How? Because of "Messiah in you, the hope of glory" (Col.1:27, NKJV).
And that's the thing, isn't it? If He isn't in you for real you just won't be able to cope - you'll be forced to shut down and go cold, or simply flee. You see, this shalom (peace) isn't a feeling but a fact - it's the unbreakable union of Elohim (God) and man in Messiah, a union which, if real, and not just pretended or intellectual or merely theological, but breaks down every other barrier that human beings erect. "He Himself is our shalom (peace)" (Eph.2:14, NKJV) which we can know as this inner stillness. It is a shalom (peace) which true talmidim (disciples) carry within them which enables them to both act peacefully in the conflicts of life as well as to bring a healing shalom (peace) to them.
There is no greater way of re-aligning with this shalom (peace), in my view, than by doing some reflective reading of the Davar (Word), in silence (not with music blaring in the background), alone with Yahweh. It should be the believer's daily closet time with Yahweh, starting the day off as well as ending it.
When the poet Wordsworth spoke of this "central peace, subsisting at the heart of an endless agitation", he meant, I believe, that no amount of life's inevitable agitations will disturb it, precisely because it is not psychic peace but spiritual shalom.
We need stillness in order to apprehend this central shalom (peace) but once found it can be carried with us through everything and anything, suffusing all we do. From this, like the opening of a flower, arises contentment, happiness and simcha (joy).
We will take a break from this series on happiness and return to it another time. Shalom and simcha!
Continued in Part 12