And the peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phi. 4:9)
In youth ministry circles, Wayne Rice is well known for a series of books he produced called, Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks. In one of the books, Wayne includes a story about a man hearing a cricket in the busy activity of Times Square. It’s one of my favorite stories. When I tell it, though, I use the brothers of the Taize Community who live near Times Square in Hell’s Kitchen, NY, as the focus.
A man was walking through Times Square in Manhattan with one of the brothers from the Taize Community. As they were walking, the brother stopped and said, “Can you hear that cricket?” The man gave an incredulous laugh and replied, “You can’t hear a cricket in the madness of this noise.” The brother challenged him and said, “You hear what you train your ear to hear. Right now your ear is trained to hear cars, horns, planes, business and people. But, if you trained your ear you could hear the cricket.”
The brother could see the man still did not believe him. So, he took out of his pocket a quarter and tossed it on the ground. Immediately, all the heads around them turned and looked for the coin. Then the brother said to the man, “The sound of a cricket is every bit as loud as that coin hitting the pavement. People have just trained their ear to hear that more than life.”
This week I have been reminded of my limitations. No amount of training allows us to see everything taking place in the life of someone very close to us; either physically, mentally or spiritually. We can, however, train ourselves to see God as present in the everyday fabric of our lives. This training is called prayer and supplication.
It has been an intense time of prayer. The prayers have not just been for my family, but for a multitude of families and friends suffering through life’s difficulties. As you read this a family is preparing for the imminent death of a parent, a woman is preparing to battle cancer, wounded children are coping with loss of a friend, and loving parents are preparing to bury a beautiful child. In the midst of it all, we will gather to give thanks. It can lead one to ask, for what?
Today, Paul tells us to pray for everything and anything weighing down our hearts. Since we are unable to bear that burden ourselves, Paul says to let our anxieties pour out upon God. Name your anxiety, name your concern, name your wound. Throw it, with all the force you can muster, on to God. Then the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will be seen, felt and heard by you. Prayer helps us experience an ever present God who carries the burdens too heavy for us to endure. It’s what causes even the most wounded heart to give thanks.
Click to read; Philippians 4: 4-9
Reflection Questions: What are your ears trained to hear? How do you train your ears to hear God? What are the limits of your love? Where have you experienced the peace which surpasses all understanding? What are you most thankful for today?
Photos Courtesy of Usplash.com and Saulo Mohana