As I’m sitting here in the middle of the night writing, I’m pondering the times when I had peace in the middle of a storm. I’ve had a lot of storms, too many to count, yet I can only think of a handful of times when I had the Peace of God in them. I won’t bore you with the details of those times, but it saddens me that out of all the trials and tribulations I’ve faced, I can’t tell you that I’ve been at peace in all of them as I should.
Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
There have been times when I have felt abandoned, forgotten, forsaken, and all the other negative thoughts that come with the worry in a crisis when I didn’t know what to do, when desperation turned to chaotic thoughts and actions on my part that were fruitless, to say the least. I turned every which way but to God. Did I forget about God? Yes, shamefully, I did many times because I was so wrapped up in my own drama of the moment that He wasn’t even a consideration. Was this wrong? Absolutely.
It is easy to have peace when the winds are calm and the waters are gentle. I love God and His blessings, and pontificate about all the blessings he has given me. I’m proud to be a Christian and can proclaim that God is a good God. I walk around with a big smile on my face.
But man, when a storm comes roaring up, the peace of God can go out the window in a heartbeat. There is no more proclamation of the goodness of God. There is no walking with my head high. How could I proclaim God as a good God when I’m drowning against my will? When my life turns upside-down, how can I have peace? I’ve learned to think otherwise, but it was a hard road to do so.
There are those of you reading this thinking I’m a bad example as a believer, I’m lost, or you’re nodding your head in agreement because you too are feeling or have felt this way. It has happened to all of us, or will. If you have failed in keeping your eye on God like I have, there is no condemnation. And if you haven’t yet, you will, and there will still be no condemnation. All you need to do is get up, dust yourself off and move forward again with God at your side.
So how do we address this? How do we keep the peace of God in us during storms? After many trials and errors on my part, I have learned to be more proactive in my faith, not reactive. It’s about being prepared for the inevitable and unforeseen. It’s taking the steps to condition your mind and spirit for what will come and training yourself to keep that Peace of God in you, regardless of what comes at you.
The storms in life are the tests we face in our faith. Just like school, the more you study and prepare, the more likely you will pass the tests given you with high scores. One must put the time and effort into studying; and for believers, our study guide is the Word of God.
The Word is not only our guidebook but it also encourages us to do well. When we crack open that dusty Bible on our nightstand, and delve into the words written, we cannot close it without learning something about our Lord and how to live our lives daily and in storms. From the Bible we get the Peace of God. From the Word we are encouraged, and from the Word we are refreshed.
When we face life in a reactive mode, we end up facing the world while spinning and bouncing around like a pinball. No direction, no focus, no way out. We end up facing the world and each day with no plan in hand nor goal in mind. We might as well just put a blindfold on and walk outside because that is exactly what we do when we are reactive to our environment.
Ahh, but when we study the Word, when we enrich ourselves with the glorious words in the Bible, then we can begin to prepare to face each day with a plan and be ready to face the dark clouds coming from the horizon. Only through the study of the words from God can we be prepared to stand boldly in the world and be stout in the ways of God to face adversity.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9, says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
The Christian life does not offer a life free of troubles; there is no promise of this. Yet with proper planning and preparation of our minds, we are able to face those harder days with the confidence of the Word as our foundation on the outlook of each day. We can be prepared to face adversity and troubles we find ourselves in the middle of.
Each one of us will face challenges. They can be relational, situational, or anything stemming from succumbing to temptations. They aren’t easy to face and they take a lot of effort to overcome. We can fight these battles on our own or we can let God lead us through them. When we face them by ourselves, we will only get worldly resolutions. When we address them with God by our side, we will get godly resolutions. It’s our choice though.
With the worldly resolutions, there is only worldly peace that may come with it. The peace is not enduring. It isn’t peace at all. Their solution may carry slight relief, but anxiety and angst will surely come along again.
With godly resolutions, there is the Peace of God that comes with it. Does this mean you will have an easier time with getting to the other side of the storm? Maybe. But… you will have that assurance of faith that allows you to know that God is working with you for His means to the end. And even if it is difficult, there is hope; and with hope comes that peace we all need.
When we seek godly intervention, this includes prayer in addition to searching the Word for God’s guidance. God may or may not drop the solution in your lap. That is His decision, not ours. Maybe, just maybe, we should seek His counsel through perusing the Word of God in conjunction with prayer. You would be surprised at how well that marvelous Book will give you direction on how to navigate the storms of life when accompanied with prayer.
Prayer is just as important as reading the Bible for guidance, because they work hand-in-hand. A prayerful life is a fulfilling life; and when we give thanks to God and send Him our supplications, we can assuredly know that He loves our praise and hears our cries. God will not ignore us. Our deal in this is to pray, ask, and then listen and wait on God.
When we release our worries to God, pray for His guidance and look through His Word for answers, all together, we must be patient; and having patience comes with having the Peace of God in our hearts. There is no rushing God. There is no forcing Him to act. He is the great I AM and will move in our lives when He knows it is the right time, not when we think it is the right time.
When we have the Peace of God in us, we will have the patience to wait for Him to help. He may help immediately, or he may help in His time, or He will answer in a way that makes no sense to us. Regardless, He is Almighty; and we just need to have full trust and faith in Him and how He wants us to move.
When we have the Peace of God in us, we will realize there are no barriers to what God can do for us. We need to work on our part to instill the mindset to have that peace in us, and we must look ahead at possible situations where we will need that Peace of God in our hearts to face those storms that we will face.