It is sharp, like the author of Hebrews said. Sharper than any two-edged sword. I feel it’s sharpness as I come upon this verse. The almost light of dawn warms up my seat as I read, trying to find the strength, encouragement, and wisdom to live another day well. Proverbs lies open on my table, and with pen in hand I work through the words, the Word. “What do you have for me today, Lord?” And then it pierces, sharp in my heart.
I recognize that my heart is not always at peace. So often I find my angst spilling over in tears as I try to navigate through the myriad of emotions, events, and encounters I have each day. Don’t get the impression that my life is bad. It is a beautiful, wonderful life and I am so blessed. But it is full. And with fullness the slightest shaking causes a spill. God, grant me peace!… I want to know your Shalom!… Lord, where is the peace that transcends understanding? These are all common phrases in my journal.
Then the sword comes. And the thoughts and attitudes of my heart are judged.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
The proverbs are full of character qualities contrasted with their negative vices. Foolish/Wise. Righteous/Wicked. Patient/Quick-tempered/. Truthful/False. Prudent/Simple.
And then there’s this juxtaposition. Peaceful Heart/Envious.
And as I sit here reading this verse, as the sword splits through my heart, I see things in a new way. Maybe there’s a reason I find myself overwhelmed, anxious, or unsettled. Maybe there’s a reason behind the peace that my heart often lacks. Maybe it is envy. Envy for what I don’t have. Contempt for those who do have it. Inability to be content with what I’ve been given.
At the heart of envy is fear. Fear that God is not true. That His promises will not prevail. That His love will not cover all. At the heart of envy is an inability to trust. Trust that God will not withhold every good gift from his children. And that fear, that distrust, is rotting our bones. No wonder I feel consumed by the waves so often. No wonder I am asking for peace. Seeking so desperately for some life in my body. No wonder my heart spills over in tears at such minor things.
Christ promises peace. There it is, in bold writing, for all to see, hear, and claim.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
The most desired and sought after gift is ours for the taking! The God of peace, of Shalom, of wholeness and completeness, He offers us this very peace! And we squash the gift with every envious, dissatisfied, comparison as we shout “I don’t want this, I want that!” Our bones are rotting while the gift of a body full of LIFE is sitting, untouched.
There will be many shakings. There will be days that bring real trials. And if they come to bones already rotting by envy it will be destroyed. But a body of life will be unshaken. The heart will remain at peace.
Its not going to change overnight. Habits once formed take a long time to break. But I am choosing to strengthen my bones. I am choosing to receive peace.