Our Chairs

September 29, 2011
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John 14:27 – (Jesus said:) Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.] (AMP)

Two ideas found at different times while reading have helped me to understand and use the peace that Christ Jesus left for me as an inheritance.

I read the account of a Bible translator who came to a roadblock in his work when he found no equivalent word for "trust" in the language of the people for whom he was preparing Scripture. He waited upon the Lord for inspiration and found it when he saw one of his native speaking co-authors sitting comfortably in a chair. He asked for the expression to describe relaxing in a chair. That spoke to me also as a perfect description of Jesus' peace.

Bible word study led me to the vernacular definition for the Hebrew word "shalom" — peace: "nothing missing, nothing broken". That definition caused me to question whether I had really taken Christ's peace to heart. I could remember many occasions when my not-at-peace, fretful, fussy, on-edge, perched-just-on-the-front-of-my-seat behaviour demonstrated just the opposite of trust in His promise of "shalom".

Jesus said that He left the capacity for full life with nothing missing and nothing broken for us as an inheritance. If I trust in His promise and use it, I may enjoy life without disturbance, fear, intimidation, or agitation. Christ provides a "shalom" chair where, if I choose to trust Him, I may relax and rest in the face of what the world throws up to disturb, agitate, intimidate, and frighten.

In the past three months, the Holy Spirit has led me to more personal involvement with some of my neighbours. I have begun friendships and been a visitor in five homes where previously we were strangers to one another. As a shy person, the process took me way beyond my comfort zone. Yes, I was unsettled!

After I asked Him for help, a new habit began to form. Troubled? Agitated? Disturbed? Intimidated? Unsettled? Something missing, something broken? Stop! Show that I believe the promise of His love. Turn the care and trouble over to the Lord. Say thanks to Him for this opportunity to trust Him. Wait for a nudge from the Holy Spirit before I take any action. Spoken prayer for my neighbours and personal contact has happened and will continue as a result.

He has my ever-ready "chair" waiting for me. Anywhere, anytime, I can settle in, find a nothing-missing, nothing-broken connection between my heart and heaven as I worship and seek His help. With the connection open, the Holy Spirit moves to establish Christ's peace first in me, then around me and beyond.

My trusty, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10a NIV), "shalom" rocking chair is painted with splashes of the bright colours found in my pansy garden. What does your trusty, "shalom" chair look like?

Prayer: Father, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, we pray and ask for a clear understanding of all You provide for us through our Saviour. May we glorify You by truly living in Christ's peace, everything in place and working as You planned! Thank You, God, for everything. Amen.

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About the author:

Pat Bell <llebpat@gmail.com>
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

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