But what do we do when our life is in turmoil and we have no peace?
In John 16:33, Jesus is talking to his disciples and he clearly states, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We read this scripture, yet when our world turns upside down what do we do?
We run to our friends, we bury ourselves in our job…we can even bury ourselves in good works. Some of us even turn back to our old habits…
God’s voice promises us peace in Psalm 29:11.
The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.
Thirty-three years ago, I was “born again,” that is what we called it back then. We were also referred to as “Jesus Freaks.” While reading a book, titled “The Satan Seller”, by Mike Warnke, I prayed and asked God to forgive me for my sins and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time! Mike was a high priest in a Satanic Occult and received Christ in a mop closet while serving in the Army. I was fortunate to meet Mike and hear him speak numerous times. He would wave his bible around a lot and never hold back on telling the audience that the word of God was the place to find peace. He would also tell a fabricated story of perfect peace and I’m going to share it with you in my own words…
When life is going great it’s easy to pray those King James prayers:
“Oh, Dear eth Lord eth thank eth you eth for today eth. Bless eth me eth and my family eth… but what happens when it isn’t a King James prayer day?
You wake up and realize it’s a workday, the alarm didn’t go off and you have thirty minutes to get ready for work?
I decide to pray on my way to work because I sure don’t have time now. I start the car only to discover my husband forgot to fill up the gas tank after his baseball game last night. In my mind or maybe I say it out loud, “If he loved me and really cared for me, he would have filled up the gas tank.” I stop for gas and of course some of the gas splashes on my clothes so now I smell like a gas station. I zoom off to work and as I’m pulling into the parking lot… guess what? A flat tire… I walk calmly into the office building even though inwardly I am in complete turmoil to find my boss sitting at his desk, reading the newspaper, sipping his morning coffee and giving me that “look” over the newspaper. I say, “good morning” and head for my 5x5 refrigerator of an office for the day. Lunchtime arrives and I have no money for lunch because I used it for gasoline. And of course the 10 cups of coffee I have been drinking throughout the day are not helping my mood… At the end of the day, I still have to find someone to change my tire and the only person available is the Hispanic landscaper, so I use my 4 years of broken- Spanish skills to ask him to change my tire. He agrees as long as I am willing to give him a ride home in the opposite direction of where I am headed. Upon arriving at home, I throw my purse and keys on the entry table, my knees hit the floor and I skid all the way down the hall and scream out, “God where are you?”
He answers, “Not me eth, you eth.”
This story is not fabricated…
On April 6, my husband joined the ranks of the unemployed and two days later my mom died. My world turned upside down. I ran to God. The scripture that kept coming to my mind was, Philippians 4:7. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Did I feel this way? No. What I prayed to God went something like this:
There is no one to blame. There is no job, God. There is no certainty. And I don’t know what you have in mind.
I was alone with God, holy in his determined, unpredictable will. That was it, a place of both alarming aloneness and tender communion. I was really frightened. I cried a lot, worried a lot, questioned a lot, felt lost, and beyond all of that, God began to touch me deeply.
I started being honest, dreadfully honest. I didn’t like the idea of my husband being unemployed. I was angry with God that he would ask me to even consider trusting him in this manner of daily living. I had questions for which I didn’t think God had the answers, or if he did, he wasn’t willing to share them with me. And when I asked those questions, a surprising thing happened: what was meant as confrontation became release. Far from resenting my questions, God welcomed them. He bore the pain in the questions just as Christ bore the cross. In expressing what was really going on inside me – the anger, hurt, the loss – he comprehended my pain and translated my helplessness into certain strength. I don’t know how. I don’t know much about such grace.
God and I. And in the dropping of I, just God. That was it, no answers, and no specifics. Just of letting go of it, all of it. In the release of control, I found humbling power. In the chaos, I found sustaining peace. God gave no answers, just His presence. He is my Jehovah Shalom.