Tranquility in the New School Year
With a deep and abiding sense of peace and harmony, we can all rise to meet every challenge without being overwhelmed, discouraged, exhausted, frustrated or bewildered. Instead, we can rest assured of the power of God.
At the start of a new school year, there's a great need to establish a sense of tranquility – deep and solid enough to weather the storms ahead. There are always opportunities that, on the surface, seem tumultuous, emotion-driven, and sometimes beyond our control, but actually force us to set down a sturdy anchor of conviction that peace and harmony, true tranquility, reign.
As your family settles into a new routine this month, take time to rediscover the evidence of tranquility in the Bible. Each one of the great Bible characters had to confront and overcome the fear that daily life would overwhelm them, that they were not equal to the job of meeting each challenge successfully, or even of making it through a difficult time. . Joseph was unfairly sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and then framed by the wife of his boss for refusing to give in to her advances. Moses felt inadequate to lead his people out of bondage, and Daniel faced a cage-full of hungry lions. In each instance, tranquility strengthened the individual's devotion to the one, almighty God. With a deep and abiding sense of peace and harmony, we can all rise to meet every challenge without being overwhelmed, discouraged, exhausted, frustrated or bewildered. Instead, we can rest assured of the power of God, ever-present and always active, clearing the way to a resolution for every challenge.
Thinking about the strength and resilience of tranquility, I am reminded of several Bible verses. I love the promise in each one – a huge and powerful promise that is comforting and sustaining right in the midst of whatever problem we're facing.
Each verse affirms that:
- God is as close to us as our breathing,
- God guides each step that we take and always in a good way (even though we might not recognize the good at first),
- We can expect to have all of our human needs fully met (we shall "be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" Isa 58:11 ),
- No matter where we find ourselves ("even in the uttermost parts of the sea" Ps. 139:9) – whatever challenges we're facing – God is already and always there with us, loving us and patiently pointing out the path ahead, way beyond what we can imagine or predict.
One of the places I've turned to again and again for inspiration and peace is the book of Psalms. The poems and songs read like prayers. It's absolutely amazing how they mirror what we all deal with and have to work through. The thing I love most is that the Psalmists never stay in the pit of self-pity, depression, or anxiety. Instead, they always end the poems by affirming God's love, care, and protection. You get the sense of David's heart starting out heavy, but ending up full of love, gratitude, and joy, even though he's still dealing with something that's trying to bring him down and destroy his sense of purpose and wholeness. To me, love, gratitude, and joy establish the kind of peace that is the expression of tranquility.
These Bible verses speak of comfort and confidence, of faith and trust in the power and presence of God that we can rely on, turn to, and lean on every minute of our day.
"Behold I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way,
and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared." (Exodus 23:20)
"And the LORD shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:
and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." (Isaiah 58:11)
"Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there.
If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there shall thy hand lead me,
And thy right hand shall hold me." (Psalms 139:7-10)
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (I Corinthians 2:9)
As a family, share Bible verses that give each of you a deep sense of peace. Check out Psalms 23 and 91 for starters – you probably know them well already. Explain to one another the meaning you find in the image the words create. You're likely to find that there is as much tranquility in the sharing process as there is in each verse! What a gentle yet strengthening way to begin a new school year of activity and progress!