My normal reading experience is one chapter per night, normally giving me enough time to study and pray through the material.
Last night shouldn't have been any different. Romans 1 isn't a long chapter, but I couldn't get past verse 7. Like, couldn't. get. past. it. Trust me, I'm a girl about getting things done, and so I kept on reading, but I heard nothing, understood nothing. One word kept resonating in my mind: Shalom.
In essence, I didn't even make it past the greeting. Verse 7 reads:
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
And when I read through my study notes, one line tinged my heart, "peace is not just the lack of conflict." It goes on to say that the word is 'shalom', which is a peace about all things.
Lord, the conviction.
As a Christian, I have the potential to experience shalom in all places of my life.
You know, when the lovely daughter is shrieking her pretty little head off because she doesn't want to leave bub's baseball game? Shalom is possible.
Or the many nights I've lost sleep over finances? Shalom.
Or how would we ever get almost 300 chairs set back up after an event in our worship center? Shalom.
Or the 'right' way to discipline the kids...
Or what is going to be for dinner tonight...
Or the uber stressful change in the schedule...
Or when are these floors EVER going to get clean?!?!
Shalom. Shalom. Shalom.
Apparently, I feel like the glue that is supposed to hold all of these things together. I feel I have enough control on these things to manage them. Failures are mine, but successes are too.
But didn't Jesus say to drop everything to follow him? I'm sure it meant more than just physically. I'm sure the disciples had to drop many of their worries and concerns, and cast them aside, in order to focus and follow Jesus.
Jesus later promises that if we bring our burdens to Him, He will give us rest.
There's a great bit of a sigh of relief in that word. And it's not just the physical, "I just need 5 more minutes, God," kind of rest. It's the 'God's got this, stop your worrying, you need just OBEY kind of rest.' And it is good.
So I guess, tonight, I'll continue on in verse 8, and try to keep in mind that the Lord Jesus is offering me rest...