As a new school year began in August of 2009, all of us were feeling the effects of the “Great Recession” after the bottom fell out of the economy in 2008. If you lived and worked at a small private boarding school, which relied on a combination of donations, volunteers and tuition payments to survive, then you had good cause for legitimate concern.
Facebook has a feature (inspired by Time Hop) that reminds users of posts and pictures from previous years on a particular date. On this date in 2009, Michael Spencer sent a note of encouragement to his friends and coworkers. It was a reminder that our hope is not found in anything in this world; our joy and peace are built on an eternal, unshakable foundation. In less than four months after writing this note, Michael would begin feeling the effects of cancer and receive a confirmed diagnosis. He would not live to see the beginning of the 2010 school year. I would like to share a few paragraphs from the middle of that note. These are timeless words of advice and wisdom that, unbeknownst to him at the time he wrote them, would soon apply to his personal journey.
My peace is not my retirement, my insurance or the value of my stocks. Your peace is not the future of the stock market or the certainty of your next paycheck. Your certainty is the rock of ages, the ancient of days, the good shepherd.
No matter what the adversary of our souls whispers to us, God’s peace is his GIFT to you every day. It comes to prisoners in Iran. It comes to suffering Christians in China. It comes to those with cancer and those going blind. God’s peace is God’s gift. Preach to yourself. Sing to your own soul. Rejoice and be glad, for unto you is born a savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Let the joy of the Lord, not the news of the world, be your strength. Be hilarious in giving. Be free from anxiety. Place your hope above, where Christ is at the right of God.