I seldom turn on the light in my office because the sunshine that flows through the three floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the room illuminates my workspace and fills the room with warmth. From my desk, I have an unobstructed view of the sidewalk and Market Street, each with its peaceful flow of traffic. Typically, I enjoy watching passers-by, but the chaos that ensued on the morning of August 30 when an endless caravan of law enforcement vehicles and emergency medical vans began screaming up the street with sirens squealing and lights flashing caused me to immediately begin to pray for whatever ensued only a few blocks away. My prayer was for God to render safety for all involved. I opened the Bible on my desk. It fell to the words of Numbers 6:24-26, translated in the New King James Version as:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
Blessed peace. That is something we could all use right now.
I don’t have to tell you how difficult the past 18 months has been, or even the past two weeks. The uncertainty and unravelling of things disrupt us within and without. I find comfort and solace in the words of scripture, and I know you do also. It sure does feel good to read that God’s deepest desire for God’s children is that we have blessed peace. What more can we ask for than to have the warmth of the Lord’s face to shine on us? I feel blessed when the warmth of the Lord’s face shines on me. I bet you do too. The God of the universe, the Holy Creator of all good things, wants the very best for the crown of all creation — that’s you and me. God’s greatest longing is to bless us with His peace settling on us like a gentle spring rain on our fields and the virgin flakes of pure white snow silently and peacefully drifting downward from heaven. Jesus said, “My peace I give to you.”
In a broken world spiraling out of our control, God is our protector and our defense. God wants us to crawl up in Her cradling lap to be caressed and calmed with God’s assuring peace where we are safe. His promise is not only to protect us, but to take care of us. As God watches over us, God’s face shines upon us.
When God’s face shines upon us it is His favor and acceptance. When Jesus was on the cross, God, had to turn away from Him, because at that moment Jesus took our sin upon Him and this made Him sin. God, being holy, could not look upon His own Son in that moment. God’s love focused squarely on us.
God’s countenance is the permanent smile on God’s face when He admires us. God does not measure His love for us by our actions or words, nor does God have a measuring scale whereby God places the good in our lives on one side and our failures on the other as a determining factor for the way God cares for us. We are in Jesus. Jesus is in us. That is who God sees when God looks at us.
As I walked around the beauty of our downtown campus today, my prayer for you and for me is: May God bless you in every way — physically, spiritually, relationally, emotionally, with a joy and satisfaction in Him that supersedes all your circumstances, especially in these difficult days. May you know the unmistakable blessing of God. May God keep you, hold you, and uphold you in His righteous hands today, and enable you to persevere through everything you are going through right now. May you know that God is smiling upon you today. May God’s face radiate toward you and be gracious to you. May you know and experience God’s unending grace in ever-abounding ways. May you know you are seen, known, loved by, and cared for by God. May God guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. May you know the peace of God amidst tumultuous days, busy schedules, all kinds of things coming and going in all directions. Amen.
By: Dr. Jim Everette, Associate Pastor of Connection & Care