Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
— St. Teresa of Avila
Not too long ago, a friend brought my attention to this lovely little “prayer” of St. Teresa of Avila. I’d heard it before, but I can’t say I really took note. This time, though, it sparked something in my spirit and I’ve been chewing on it ever since.
The words are simple, but they’re packed with layer upon layer of profound spiritual truth. It’s really more of a meditation than a prayer. Sadly the word “meditation” conjures up images some believers consider to be incompatible with biblical Christianity–which is unfortunate because nothing could be further from the truth. There are many, many scriptural admonishments to meditate upon God and his precepts–and that is exactly what St. Teresa’s words cause me to do.
Here is my own personal “amplified” version of her prayer:Let nothing disturb you ~ I know the plans you have for me, Lord, They’re plans for peace and not calamity You’ve promised that your people will live in secure dwelling places; In undisturbed places of rest … Let nothing frighten you~ The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? I sought you and you answered me–you’ve delivered me from all my fear … All things are passing away: God never changes~ The things of earth are fleeting These momentary light afflictions will soon fade away But you are the Everlasting One; the Ancient of Days The same yesterday, today, and forever Your compassion never fails and your mercies never end Your faithful love endures forever … Patience obtains all things~ The fruit of the Spirit is patience And your patient love is at work in me Let patience have its perfect work That I may be perfect and complete– Lacking nothing … Whoever has God lacks nothing~ Those who trust in you lack no good thing I have all and abound because you are my all in all You alone are my reward And in your presence I find fullness of joy … God alone suffices~ In you I live and move and have my being In you all things are held together Your grace has always been, and will always be, wholly sufficient You are, and forever will be, all I really need
I’ve desperately needed to remind my soul of these truths–especially this past week. It’s been one of “those” weeks. The kind we all have from time-to-time. The details don’t particularly matter (we’ve all got our own details, right?). What does matter, is that as difficult as the week has been–I didn’t lose my peace (well, at least not for any real period of time!). Perhaps even more significantly, I didn’t lose my perspective.
Instead, I found myself returning to these precious words again and again and again. I whispered them in the dark of night. I declared them boldly into the chaos of the day. I clung to their timeless truths as a soothing balm for my stretched and battered soul. Most importantly, I let them lead me to his Word …
And to the unshakable hope I always have in him.
Because God alone suffices.