Peace When I’m Stretched to Pieces

On Monday, I shared with you how I thought October would be filled with crisp autumn mornings, colorful leaves raining down around me, and free time to snuggle up with a blanket and a great book. That was my picture of what peace would look like in my life. Work complete, the house clean and in order, no one sick, and me with time to just rest. But it is not plausible and certainly not a reflection of my life. How about yours?

When you try to imagine what the perfect, peaceful day looks like, what do you see? I bet your daydreams of peace do not include the everyday craziness that is in your average Monday morning. So, I ask you: How do we live in peace when there are so many demands on us, so much noise around, and so much chaos? Grab your coffee, a warm blanket, and the Bible and between the two of us, let’s see what God has to say about living peacefully regardless of what is happening around us.

I left you Monday with the reminder to look at Philippians 4:5-7. It states:

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” NIV

Let’s flesh this out a little bit and really understand what Paul is saying here. The Life Application Study Bible summarizes this group of scriptures as an opportunity to pray whenever we are put in a place that we may begin to allow worry to seep in. Paul advises us that if we want to worry less, we need to pray more.

Well, that sounds simple, doesn’t it? Let’s be honest, it also sounds like it’s too easy to really work. But it does work!

Praying to God changes our heart posture. When we pray, God sometimes decides to remove the situation that is stressing us. God is certainly capable of instantly bringing about deliverance from a situation. However, more than likely, He’s going to use the situation for our overall good or He is going to revise how we’re viewing it. If we shift our focus from our life here to our citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom, then our perspective about everything here gets clearer.

God’s definition of peace isn’t the same as the worlds. True peace isn’t found through positive thinking, through absence of conflict, or even in good feelings. True Biblical peace comes from understanding that God is in control. That our place in Heaven is sure and our destiny is set.  Knowing that gives us victory over sin. It gives us victory over worry. Knowing God is in control allows us to live in peace regardless of our surroundings.

God knows that our life can be really hard, chaotic, and messy. But that wasn’t His original design for our life here on Earth. Remember the Garden of Eden. Free will allowed sin to come crashing in and with it a disruption of peace. Yet, God always promises to be with us, even through the most chaotic of times.

So, let’s look at some of the peace robbers I mentioned Monday and see how prayer could help us walk through these circumstances while continuing to have peace.

First off, let’s examine the real significance of raking leaves or any other task you have on your over-crowded to-do list.  What would really happen if you decided instead of stressing about the endless to-do list, you instead opted to pray about your day, did what you could that day, and let the rest of the list go until the next day? What if your focus was on eternity instead of the average 78 years or so we have here on Earth?

I’m not saying that you never have to rake the leaves again. Sorry!  But I really want you to think about these next couple of questions. Do you believe that God’s intention is for us to be overwhelmed, stressed out, or feeling unaccomplished because we didn’t get our entire to-do list done? Do you think the Lord is glorified when we do complete our entire to-do list, but haven’t spent even a minute with Him, nor shown love to the neighbor’s children even when they run through our well-manicured lawn, or shown patience with the store cashier when the bar code scanner isn’t working properly and we are in a hurry?

Perhaps, if we had our focus on God, some of the tasks on that to-do list wouldn’t seem worth the havoc they appear to cause. Perhaps if we completely submitted our lives to the Lord, we wouldn’t allow worry to rob us of our peace.

Matthew clearly tells us not to worry.

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27 NIV

It says right there, we cannot add another hour to our day by worrying.

What about the things we deal with that are harder than a long to-do list? What about broken relationships, sickness, or the death of a loved one? How are we supposed to walk through those things and still feel peaceful?

Broken relationships are tough. There are all types of broken relationships. Divorce, estranged families, unhealthy friendships, and even job terminations can destroy who you do life with. It’s hard. Disease and chronic pain take a toll on more than just our bodies, there is an emotional and mental cost that goes along with illness. Death of a loved one can change everything when it comes to your day-to-day walk, right? These things can certainly seep in and disrupt our inner peace if given the chance.

But Jesus tells us in John 16:33:

 “That in this world we will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” NIV

THIS is the key to having peace in this world. Jesus has already overcome the world and this life is not all that there is. Because of our belief in Jesus, we can trust that this life has no hold on us, and even death isn’t the end for us!

 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 NIV

 

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25 ESV

Being a Christ follower changes everything. It allows a supernatural peace even through the hardest of times. Being a Christ follower doesn’t mean we won’t have hard moments, but when we do, we can be assured that we are not alone, and that the situation will not last forever.

Revelation 21:4 gives us this eternal promise:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ESV

Today I want to encourage you! The next time something or someone tries to steal your inner peace, try turning the situation over to the Lord. Submit to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with the peace of God.

Written by Rhonda Carlsen

Please note all scripture was taken from the NIV or ESV.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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