Tuesday, October 4, 2011
A couple of weeks ago, our pastor gave us a slip of paper with the name, "Jehovah Shalom" written on it. He had handed slips like that out to several other families within our church, all with a different name of God on it. We were then asked to find Scriptures referring to that name/character of God. This past Sunday, we each took a turn telling in our own way (whether it was to write a poem, pray, sing a song, etc) on how we've come to know and experience God (as in our case, our Jehovah Shalom) or the God of Peace.
Initially, I didn't really think I had anything to say...because in all honesty, our lives haven't been very traumatic. But on Saturday night after everyone was in bed, I sat down to write and all these examples came pouring out...
"The betrayal of a close friend. The sudden, unexpected death of my dear uncle. An unwanted phone call that threatened the possibility of ripping my family apart. A new addition to our family unit that drastically altered life as we knew it. Blood tests that have changed my daughter's health & lifestyle."
There have been others, but these were on the forefront of my mind that night. These are all instances in my life over the course of several years that initially were tainted with bits of confusion, anxiety, hurt, distrust, shock & pain. But looking back, I can see how through all of these "trials of many kinds," God has indeed been my peace.
Many people hold to the false belief that peace is simply the absence of trials and/or strife. While others live in a perpetual state of denial, fooling themselves into believing that simply because they're Christians, that their life has no problems, and that the issues at hand really aren't there. Neither of these is true. We're promised in John 16:33 that we WILL have trouble in this world...but that we can also have peace in the midst of our storms! Peace is the absolute assurance that God is in TOTAL control of ALL things at ALL times & that He is weaving every fiber of our lives together to be used for His greatest glory & our ultimate good!
Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee..." Psalm 91:1 says, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
The first two words mean "to live as a resident; reside. To continue to be in a place or condition. To fasten one's attention to something." When we choose to focus our mind and thoughts on Christ and His sovereignty, it gives us peace-knowing we can rest in Him. He also promises us a peace that transcends, or exceeds-goes far above & beyond our understanding of even the most difficult and unsettling circumstances when we take every situation to Him in prayer (as instructed in Philippians 4:6-8) and leave it in His hands.
These following verses are what I fall back on time after time...truths that I wrap around each situation I'm ever faced with. They serve as a "flagpole" of sorts-grounding me in His word, anchoring my mind to my Heavenly Father's concrete truths, while at the same time, freeing me to rest in His sufficiency & experience His peace. I pray they do the same for you.
Jeremiah 29:11-"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Psalm 32:8-"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life..."
Proverbs 3:5-"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
Romans 8:28-"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Psalm 33:4-"For the Word of our Lord holds true and everything He does is worthy of our trust."
Note that it doesn't say that everything that happens to us IS good...but that God will work it FOR our good!! Also, we may not understand, like or agree with everything God does (or allows) in our lives...however, we MUST trust Him!!! He has our best interest at heart!