The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, August 1st comes to us from Aftab Yunis Hakim of Punjab, Pakistan.
Psalm 120:1-7 NRSV 1 In my distress I cry to the Lord, that he may answer me: 2 “Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.” 3 What shall be given to you? And what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech, that I must live among the tents of Kedar. 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. 7 I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
In Psalm 120, it seems that the psalmist was getting frustrated at not finding any peace at all in his surroundings – or even the entire world. In a state of great stress and agony, he was asking God to deliver him from the corrupt minds who do not accept peace. In today’s world, we also may feel devastated because we cannot find peace. At times it seems that some people do not want peace, and as a result peace feels impossible to achieve.
The stress of constant war and conflict makes us tired and discouraged. We see some people fighting for selfish interests, some for what they believe in, and some against idea they oppose. The glory of God’s peace is not in winning; it is about living in Gods’ way –following the Prince of Peace who told his disciples, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I don’t give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV).
Prayer: God of Peace, comfort those who are living in great turmoil, and rescue those who face persecution. Grant them your peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
– Aftab Yunis Hakim
We have all felt the distress and discomfort of observing Covid-19 restrictions. Masks can be an annoyance and remaining six feet from those we love has been challenging, to say the least. We want, desperately, to know when this pandemic will end. Yet, amidst of our struggles, God is present to soothe our anxious mind and troubled hearts, offering us the opportunity to dwell in a peace that surpasses all our understanding. God’s peace does not ask us to ignore what is going on around us. Rather it offers us comfort amid our questions and hope amid our struggles. I invite each of you to accept God’s offer of peace, placing all your angst in God’s hands.