“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
1 John 5:20 ESV
Last night, I sat poolside as the distant sky settled down in a display of pink. I’d walked a long way again, trying not to let the old body with achy joints catch up. Is it humidity or is it age and wear and tear, lack of good habits catching up?
My body is, has been changing.
I stopped social media scrolling when the sky grew more splendid. Stopped reading what researchers are sharing, what believers are noticing, what culture is trying to correct.
People, mostly young ones are conflicted about their faith. Believers are sharing commentaries and YouTubes that resemble apocalyptic horror films. Culture is confusing me about what to follow, have I been following wrong for so long?
Have I not loved well, loved like Jesus?
I returned to the practice of Bible reading today that directs me to an OT passage, Psalms, and a NT passage.
II Kings, author unknown, follows the first book called Kings and details “the saga of disobedience” according to my Book Introductions in the back. (My Bible was a gift in 2015. You may know the story. It’s the first one I’ve ever felt the freedom to get honest with, have its honesty lead to my return to art. If you’re curious, it is a Crossway, ESV Journaling Bible)
II Kings, Chapter 9 is a violent one. I won’t pretend to understand it all, the prophesy, the lineage, the murders, the deciding who should be king.
But, I noticed one thing, a revelation type read.
They were looking for peace.
I believe they’d been looking a long time and probably long into the next books and chapters I read, I’ll discover that the people who were far from God kept looking.
Looking for peace.
Before the murders and executions recorded here, seven times there was a question of “Where is peace?” and a proclamation by King Jehu that there’d be no peace until Jezebel was dead.
What do you have to do with peace? Is it peace? Two questions asked repeatedly in five verses. (II Kings 9:17-22)
Jezebel died violently, her remains devoured by dogs and many others were massacred.
More warnings, more rulers, more seeking of peace.
I’m not a Bible scholar. I seek to understand what God is saying to me to clarify my confusion, to comfort my dismay, to guide me into Christlikeness.
So that I can be at peace.
So that I can emanate peace through my believing, toward others and I hope, through art.
The back of my Bible guide led to Psalm 141 and then the books of John just before the tiny Book of Jude.
“But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!”
Psalm 141:8 ESV
Second John is a letter written to a lady and her children (likely, a congregation). I found this to have a sweetness in tone, the offering of grace, mercy and peace, along with a gentle warning of what not to let in my house.
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,”
2 John 1:9-10 ESV
The wolf at the door, the author of confusion, the purveyor of doubt, the stirrer up of strife and trauma triggers.
I won’t let him in my house.
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Jesus
Revelation 22:7 ESV
I won’t stop believing.
Believing in the creator of pink sunsets, precious babies, quiet oceans, and people like me who almost gave up on themselves.
I won’t stop believing.
I pray you don’t either.
Dear God, return us as we wander from you, caught in the tension of what others say of you and our embrace of who you’ve shown us you are. May we remember and return to the notice of you all around us. Help us to pause from the noise of culture to seek you, the path to peace. Because of mercy, Amen