Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
In the chaos and clamor of the world, the above passage is a pleasant reminder for me. Darkness takes over in our lives so easily. It seems to be a never-ending struggle to keep it at bay. For me this is where prayer and study come in.
Prayer is a wonderful way of re-centering and lightening those shadows. So is study. When I find one of those “Aha” moments while reading scripture, or some nugget of truth for right now, I am filled with a sense of joy and accomplishment. It gives me the opportunity to focus on something greater than myself.
It is a shame that the mystery we call God needs to be explained. How did God create the world? Does God still perform miracles like these? What if the point isn’t to prove God exists, but to live in the mystery of our God? Mystery breeds hope. It allows hope to shine into even the darkest moments of life. If it happened for others, it could happen for me.
I get what science has to offer us about our world. Whether God created it in seven days, or seven million years, does it change that some power and wisdom much greater than us formed the intricate ecosystem which survives to this day?
So, I read Scripture looking for the miraculous in the lives of people and God are conveyed in those sacred texts. I pray to see those same movements in the world around me. Then I meditate on the excellent things God places in the world…rejoicing and giving thanks for these blessings.
I cannot hide from the darkness of the world. It does not, however, have to be my focus. There is a peace at viewing the blessings God still produces for us. I do not need to know why, how, or who of all of it. I can focus on this ultimate Good and walk thanking God for life and the world around me. For me that starts with study of Scripture, then prayer and meditation on the positive, miraculous mysteries happening around me.
May you all see the darkness shrink, the goodness shine brightly, and be able to focus on those things which are true, commendable, and excellent wherever you are!