Thursday, March 18, 2010

Closer Than My Skin

There's a lot of sadness in this old world. News came last night in an e-mail that an acquaintance's (dear friend of a dear friend) cancer is back after three or four surgeries and treatments. This, along with the funeral yesterday for a friend's 17-month-old grand-daughter, my concern and worries about my mom's health and, of course, the ever-present grief of missing Randy, I felt numb. I turned to my only Source of comfort and hope in these trying times, but I was hardly able to form words to express my feelings in any sort of prayer.

One of my morning readings today (Daily Readings from the Works of Leslee D. Weatherhead) was especially appropriate. I’ll summarize and quote it here:

When you are feeling overwhelmed, get alone and quiet and say to yourself, ‘The Peace of God is mine. The Peace of God Is mine’. Not asking for it, but taking it. Listen to Jesus…flooding into your mind and spirit, bathing them, and refreshing them, and healing them, and when the mind is at ease, the weaknesses of the flesh will fold their tents like the Arabs and as silently steal away….

’Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee', says the old saint, and to stay the mind on God means to have so many links with God that the mind can hardly touch any idea without that idea leading to thoughts of God and liberating kindling feelings of love, gratitude and adoration.

I’ve just finished a book by Susan D. Hill called “Closer Than Your Skin” which is about seeking intimacy with God. It was an excellent book and I highly recommend it, but the title alone has captivated my thinking. It came to mind again this morning after reading the above words. To have so many links with God that the mind can hardly touch any idea without that idea leading to thoughts of God – that’s “closer than my skin” – a truly liberating feeling. Sometimes the stuff of life is so pressing that trying to figure out how to get everything done in a day is almost overwhelming. It can bring out my obsessive nature and leave me tense and irritable. But if I can just sit back and drink in the peace of God, letting Him fill all the holes and corners in my mind, heart and soul, then I truly I can slow my breathing and just put one foot forward at a time (right foot, left foot, as a friend of mine says!).

As Dr. Weatherhead said, with this freedom, come “feelings of love, gratitude and adoration.” And with those feelings, I am always able to pray and commune with God. So, I pray for the friend with cancer, the friend whose son is leaving their family business after 20 years, the friend who lost a precious baby grand-daughter, my uncle who is trying to recover from a stroke and for my mom – for strength and hope to keep fighting, as well as pain relief. And I feel the comfort, even in grief, of a God who is closer than my skin.

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