Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing upset you. All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone is suffices.
– Teresa of Avila –
In my lifetime, change has always been the one constant. As the spouse of a career military officer and then as an itinerant pastor there was always a move in our future; always a new adventure to look forward to. Confirmation of those adventures? 33 addresses in 46 years of marriage. Each address required different types of change such as physical change, change in perspective, change in expectations and sometimes even change in attitude. I must admit there are/were many times when a feeling of ‘not knowing’ lay hidden under the sense of adventure. Was/is the ‘not knowing’ fear, anxiety, hesitation? Probably.
Fear is such a common feeling, one we all encounter to some extent on a daily basis. It might be the fear of getting ill during the time of pandemic. It might be the fear of losing a loved one. It might be the fear of losing one’s employment, or it might be the fear of loss of control. Whatever fear or anxiety we might feel, God is here to help lift that burden. God desires peace in our lives and one of the most effective ways of finding that peace is to ask for God’s help through prayer.
St. Teresa of Avila wrote the beautiful poem above during her lifetime and it has been used as a prayer throughout the centuries. Teresa’s works on prayer are considered to be some of the greatest pieces of spiritual literature ever composed. She was also a woman of action who, in spite of much opposition and challenges, pioneered a reform of the Carmelite religious order at great personal cost. During a time of persecution Teresa wrote her spiritual masterpiece, Interior Castle. The book is based on a vision of “a most beautiful crystal globe, made in the shape of a castle and containing seven mansions, the glory of God being within the innermost.”
The prayer, as you see it above, is simple in its format, which is why so many turn to it in times of distress. I placed this poem/prayer on my computer screen several years ago and find I refer to it almost daily. I share this prayer to you as we move through the upcoming changes at Pioneer. I learned long ago that change is inevitable whether I like it or not. At the same time, I learned God never changes and if we are patient and rely on God, all things will turn out for good. I have faith that God desires nothing but good for Pioneer UMC, its congregation, and the Walla Walla Valley. Thanks be to God.
Rev. Juli Reinholz, Senior Pastor