Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 2:9-10)
Adam and Eve heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden, and they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. They sinned against God, and their relationship was no longer same as before. They talked with God as if they talk to their friends, and enjoyed an intimate relationship with God. However, the intimate relationship was shattered because they deviated from what was told by God. Now, they had to hide from the face of God. Even so, God came to them, and asked “Where are you?” Of course, God knew exactly where they were and what they did, but God approached them gently with patience, while providing a chance to confess their sin. Rather than admitting and confessing their sin, Adam blamed at Eve and God, and Eve blamed at the serpent. (This should sound very familiar to all of us). The peaceful and intimate relationship were turned into blaming, accusing and defensive arguments. (If you were a parent of two children who are blaming at each other while indirectly that you are the source of all the problems, what you would do?) Our God, who was full of mercy and love, had to tell the consequences of their sins so that they could learn. He also gave His loving protection to them so that they could endure and survive from the hard consequences that they would get. God was always in peace, and wanted to have a peaceful relationship even after they sinned, but Adam and Eve were defensive about their sin. They lost a real opportunity to restore the relationship. They could have confessed their sin to God and asked His forgiveness. (Again, this should be very familiar to all of us.)
leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:24)
On earth, it is inevitable to get into a conflict with another person or a group of people. If not all, most of conflicts between people are caused by a mere small misunderstanding or small misunderstandings. Rather than a content, how was spoken often carries more weight and drives our reactions. We often impose our thoughts on others while judging based on what we see and has been told about them, which are equally superficial in its nature because nobody can read one’s heart, mind and thoughts. Unfortunately, those misunderstandings usually lead to a conflict rather than improving a relationship with the others Jesus told to his disciples: “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you. leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24) Before presenting offering to God, God wants to examine us whether others have something against us due to our own wrong doing or a sin against others. Then Jesus wants to have peace first before approaching to God. We know our own hearts. We have to examine our own hearts first, and ask forgiveness to the others. He wants peace among people through reconciliation among us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
How often are we anxious about anything? Once a day or even multiple times a day? Anxiety, if we think deeply, is essentially induced by our own selves based on our own fear: we might lose what we like to hold on tight long time, or we might encounter a bad thing that we don’t want even to think about. However, when we feel everything is under our control, we are overly confident about our lives. We all know nobody knows the future. Knowing and control the future is completely outside of our human domain. Even so, somehow we feel confident about what will happen, or we are nervous and anxious about what might happen. It is a manifestation of our fear of uncertainty, which might give harms to us. We generally want to maintain our status or to achieve betterment without being trapped in any surprises. However, we all know our future is up to God. Especially, we have our eternal assurance through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. He already won the victory, and we will share the victory with Him. Nobody knows about tomorrow, but one thing is sure. God loves us no matter what happens to us and around us. This is the assurance. The love was clearly demonstrated and proved on the cross. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrew 4:14) In every situation, we will present our requests to God by prayer and petition with thanksgiving. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
Do we have a true peace with God? How about with other fellow Christians and even non-Christians? How about with ourselves? Are we in peace, not being anxious about what we see and touch on earth? Let’s bow down before God and ask His mercy, grace and peace so that we can have a true peace with Him and our neighbors around us. Continue confessing our double-mindedness that we still hold tight what we have, see and touch on earth, while believing God and His love and power. Cast out all of our sins and fears to God, and be free from our earthly attachments, anxieties and fears. Praise God, who is always merciful and gracious to us! Sing praise to God, who has prepared our destiny and paths along the way! Let’s approach to Him with confidence. Praise Him. His mercy and grace will endure forever.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22)