Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rock of Ages

The day was a beautiful sunny day, I felt good in spirit, mind and body. My little lady friend that has made the nursing home her place of residence for the past 6 years, came to mind. Though it was too cool outside to take her for a “walk” in her chair, I felt a visit would be nice to cheer her up. I love making her laugh! And she makes me laugh too!

When I arrived I was so thankful to see her very alert and smiling. In the recreation/eating room of this Nursing home, there are people of all states and levels of physical and mental disability. Every time I visit, I say a silent prayer because these people are mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, wives, sisters, aunts, cousins, etc. to people just like me. And so I pray for their peace, strength, healing….

As my little lady friend and I sit and talk among the normal noises that are in this kind of facility: loud chatter, patients calling out, one man sporadically yelling, another patient pushing her walker and a chair simultaneously as they scrape across the floor and the TV blasting (for the hearing impaired no doubt) with an old movie, I did not think they were paying any attention too. Until suddenly from the TV comes these beautiful voices singing the words to this hymn:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.

And just as suddenly all the “normal” calamity in this room stops and they all begin to sing along with this hymn on TV (from the old movie). It was beautiful! This old hymn was able to reach beyond the disorder and help these people, who are in all states of disability, bring to their memories the words of this song…a prayer… “Rock of Ages “God”… Cleft for me “Make room for me”…Let me hide myself in Thee.

I was so moved I began to sing along myself and was immediately in accord with them in this heartfelt silent prayer. “Make room for me too Father, I need You everyday of my life, Your protection, Your love…”

This hymn was written in 1763 by a Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady.
Traditionally it is said that he was inspired to write it while in an actual incident of being caught in a storm and having to hide in a gap in a gorge for protection. So this hymn that was inspired by a prayer still lives on today almost 250 years later.

As I sang along with and listened to the patients of this nursing home blend their voices with the voices from the TV, I knew that God could hear them, He heard every note that came from their mouths as well as their hearts and He will indeed make room for them…

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2

Monday, February 7, 2011

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”
Psalms 19:1-3

“PEACE”…that word can be seen all over my house, I mean literally. On a garden stake in my yard, in big bold wooden letters on top of my computer desk…as a reminder to me that is what I need every day. My days of major drama are over, while others think that it is exciting to witness an argument, or any human event that causes the adrenalin to flow…not me! I guess to be honest, after having many years of anxiety, nervousness and fear (I’m being real) during my late husband’s illness and passing, I seek peace. Peace in my mind, spirit and soul. Sweet peace, that passes all understanding.

But there are times when even though I can’t help but see the word on the garden stake as I’m walking up the steps to my front porch or in strategic places in my home, I can still lose ‘sight” of peace in my soul. It was that way this morning on my way to work. In my mind I was going over and over the things I have to get done. I was feeling overwhelmed by my responsibilities as a widow. “Let’s see… do this…do that.” I could feel my body trying to catch up with my racing mind (I hate that feeling). “I need your peace Lord.” I silently prayed. And in the midst of this unrest and anxiety I looked up and saw the most beautiful sky, blue-gray clouds shimmering with gold and pink as the sun was making its grand appearance. It made me desire to stop, pull over on the side of the road, get out, bow my knees and thank God for such a beautiful sight that I was able to see!

The beauty of His firmament spoke peace to me in its beauty! It spoke to me that He is with me and will never leave me. He was saying to me “Look on Me, not on your circumstances, for my heavens declare My Glory!” And the words of this old song came to my heart:
“Peace, peace wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above,
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray,
In fathomless billows of love!”

God’s peace is priceless; He gives us His peace, even in the midst of a storm. After seeing that beautiful sight this morning, my peace has returned. And I learned that it is not in just seeing the word, but it is surrendering to His love and assurance that He is in control. That He can cause the heavens to shimmer with pink and gold with the sun’s rising…”speaking” of His existence in this world that sometimes feel that it has gone awry and tries to take me with it! I don’t have to ride the waves of anxiety that this world offers daily, but I can look around me and see the beauty of God’s hand and let Him speak PEACE to my heart.