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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Falling to Peaces...

Last week was a very difficult week for the three fold cord. Mark and I struggled with disappointments, betrayals, and family crisis. All before the end of Tuesday. Needless to say I was left reeling with fear and sadness. All this left me questioning the strength I profess to have in Christ. I wondered if I really did rely on Christ in all things, because I couldn’t seem to locate His gift of peace in my troubled heart and mind. Sadness had gripped my heart and it was something that I couldn’t shake. I expressed to Mark that I didn’t want to be sad, I didn’t want to feel this way, but I couldn’t even seem to choose my way out of this haze.

I cried out, “Jesus, give me the words, give me wisdom, tell me what to do! Oh, my Jesus, bring me peace, take the pain and bring me Your peace.” I longed for that peace that surpasses all understanding, and I could not find it. Maybe it was because I was trying to understand what I was going through, maybe it was because I was leaning on logic and not on God, and maybe its because peace takes time.

A song from my youth kept popping into my head. “Peace is flowing like a river...setting all the captives free.” Where was this river?! I was looking all over for the river, I felt like a captive, where was this elusive river of peace?

In this longing for peace, when I felt like there was a fist wrapped tight around my heart, I questioned myself and my faith. I did not question God or His abilities, but I questioned whether all the rhetoric about trusting in the Lord that I spew out was really true when push came to shove. In the last 3-4 years I have had my fair share of family crisis and heartbreak and I can attest that the only way I made it through without bitterness or a hardness of heart and with my sanity was by leaning on the Lord. I have always been able to find the joy of the Lord, but I couldn’t seem to find it last week. Now this sadness, this pain, and let’s face it this fear only lasted a few days, but this desperate search for peace shook me.

But I am truly blessed, I did not have to face this alone. I will confess there were moments of despair where I said to Jesus, “Jesus, I know I always have You, but right now I feel so alone.” And in my despair He rescued me, He reminded me that I wasn’t a lone, not spiritually, not physically. Like I said, I am truly blessed, I have a godly husband who lets me feel my pain, express my sadness, but doesn’t let me abide in it. So he held me when I threw myself into bed, pulled the covers over my head, and sobbed. But when that was over, he prayed with me, he told me to trust God and to get into His Word to find the peace I longed for. Mark reminded me that I am to abide in Christ as He abides me, and not to abide in fear and unreliable emotions.

So I did find peace. I found it the comforting embrace of my husband, and, yes, in his authority, as well. I found peace in John 1. I found peace in the promises of God’s Word. I found peace in the hope of Christ. I found peace in the rolling green pastures of South Dakota and the baby lambs and calves that inhabited them. Driving through the winding country roads of South Dakota I prayed and I worshiped, and I as got closer to my destination I felt a knot trying to form in my stomach. But I looked around at all the signs of Spring and I was reminded that new life always springs forth, that there is resurrection after death, that hope springs eternal. I clung to the fact that Jesus is the same today, tomorrow, and yesterday (Hebrews 13:8) and the hope I’ve had in the past was available today. I was trying not to be like the disciples in the midst of the storm, who were seized with fear even though the Lord was with them. I knew that I would make it to the other side, Christ is with me. But as much I as knew that God was working mightily there was this teeny tiny ounce of fear that clung to the tip of my heart and threatened to overtake me. So I praised the God who made the beautiful hills I was driving through, and I spoke aloud in my car of positive outcomes brought forth by the Father. I made a promise to God that regardless of the outcome I would thank and praise Him. I spoke to Him continually. I found my peace before I knew the outcome. I knew I needed that peace before I had relief because there was chance relief would not come, but peace is transcendent.

And yes, I am being intentionally vague. This is not about what happened last week, but about trusting in the Lord when everything goes to crap. It is not about the details of disappointments and crisis but about finding peace in the storm (or peace finding me). It’s not about the struggles God allows, but about the blessings He gives you to get through the struggles. I am blessed with His Word, with an amazing faith-filled husband, and a handful of praying friends and concerned family. So perhaps if you cyber stalk me you can guess what the crisis was about, if you were on the short list of people I asked for prayer than you know most of the story, but otherwise all you
know (and need to know) is that I needed peace and I found it.

Have you ever felt an absence of peace in your life? How did you deal with it, and how did peace return to you? As Christians are we to expect to always have peace? Is it a sign of faltering faith if the tumults of life threaten to steal our peace?

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