The life in Christ is not without its challenges and uncertainties; in fact, it seems as if these provocations can loom even bigger when we have given up control of our lives and destiny to God. We won’t all have the challenges that Paul faced when he was spreading the Gospel around the Mediterranean Sea area, but still we will face our own seeming threats. Hear how Paul thought of these challenges:
4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. [2 Corinthians 6:4-10}
The more we have faced the challenges of our past, the more we have mourned those losses and difficulties, the more we have offered them up to God for healing, the easier it will be to face all that comes to us in our lives, given that Christ is right there with us in everything we have to face.
The first lesson I learned in following Jesus is that why something is happening to me is not important. I used to drive myself crazy insisting that I had to know why something was in my life before I could accept it. Instead, I learned that the important thing was to see what God was asking of me in this new challenge. My suffering went way down when I figured this out. So now, Covid-19 or an election that is still not settled in the view of some, anxieties and lockdowns, masks and isolation, illnesses, working without cohorts, working at home and supervising children all day in their schoolwork—whatever is going on in our lives that seems difficult and maybe undoable must be tackled with the presence of the Lord with us, leaning on Him for guidance, lifting up our concerns to Him and resting in His peace while we let Him handle these challenges. We need the Lord in our minds and hearts all day long, so that we feel His help and support, so we know His suggestions for how to deal with this or that, so we can walk peacefully with Him into whatever comes to us.
The day before our election the first Tuesday of this month, I was in a zoom meeting with a small group from my church. And we were looking at the story in Mark where Jesus was sleeping in the boat while a storm was raging. The disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”[Mark 4:35-41] I realized that Jesus was saying, “I’ve got this!” He’s got this and every other thing that happens to us. So we don’t have to worry. We can be at peace, because everything that happens is in His design and He will be in it with us.
This is the truth of our lives, if we have the faith to see and to live it: He’s got this! There is no need for worry or doubt or anxiety or anger or anything untoward. He’s got us in His hands no matter what situation we are in. Even people who are not aware of Jesus in their lives wouldn’t need to worry, because He’s got them, too. The only difference is that they will never suspect that God is taking care of them, that He lives in and among and around them, too. It is such a gift to be able to see how God works in our lives, to be aware of His presence, to be so in touch with Him that we do live in peace with whatever is going on around us and in our lives.
Questions to ponder over the week: How much of my life have I given up to God? 20%, 50%, 75% or more? Do I seek His peace in everything I do? What would I have to give up control of in order to turn more of my life over to God? What does living in His peace mean when the whole world is spinning out of control? Do I know that peace?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who dwell constantly in His peace, stepping aside from all the anxiety and fear and anger that swirls around us. May we see His presence, His will in everything that happens and then seek to align ourselves with God in all that is.
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