Those who love Your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.
- Psalm 119:165 NLT
Life has been one giant storm these past few years. From graduating college and being jobless for quite an extended time, a sister nearly dying from an unknown illness, to various ailments that have impacted myself and the rest of my family, leaving a church for painful reasons, to lacking a community to support me through life’s trials, I understand turbulent seasons and I can tell you it can be hard to find peace. It can be hard to have joy, to “praise Him in the storm” as the Casting Crowns song goes, but no matter what happens in life, I know and am writing to remind you that God does not change. He does not waver with the winds. He does not lie or change His mind depending on a situation (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 6:18). He is steadfast and sure, our solid anchor of hope, and His Word is our lifeline when we feel like we are sinking in the sea and being blown over by the storm.
John 16:33 tells us something very important. The first thing that Christ says is that we can have peace in Him. We can. It’s not a maybe or possibly, He is speaking with certainty. Second, He guarantees that we will have difficult times in this broken world; that there will be trials, storms, in our lives, but thirdly, that we need not be afraid for He has already overcome everything we will face. No storm in our life, no challenging circumstance nor wearisome tribulation, will be a surprise to Him that He cannot handle.
A few times in the Psalms we read that our God is the one who can calm the raging seas (65:7, 89:9, 107:29). Not only is God capable of calming the physical storms, like He does in the Gospels (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25), but He can also make the storms in our lives, hearts, and minds, be still. So how can we experience this peace?
The first thing is to trust and focus on God. Isaiah 26:3 says "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!" Like Peter when he walked on the water, as he kept his eyes on Christ, he did not sink, but it was once he looked elsewhere that he stumbled and began to fall into the water. We must keep our eyes on Him no matter what, whether the days are sunny or stormy. Being intentional like this allows our relationship to grow, develops that spiritual intimacy that is crucial to having hope when things become difficult.
The second is prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Not only are we looking to Christ but through prayer we are also listening to Him. It's a conversation of sharing our heartache and concerns, and by being still in His presence we can receive His comfort, wisdom, strength, and joy.
We cannot have peace apart from abiding in Christ and by trusting Him, focusing on Him, and praying to Him we will come to a place where even when the storm continues to rage, we can experience a peace that words cannot describe.
1. When the storms arise in my life, what is typically my first reaction and why?
2. How can I better seek and focus on God when things in my life are out of control, painful, and challenging?
Yahweh, I praise You for being such a steadfast, immovable God who knows all. Because of this I know I can trust You fully when difficult times in my life arise. Grant me Your powerful peace to be content in You even when circumstances are chaotic and situations are difficult. Help me to have faith and keep my eyes on You, and not on the storms. May what I am experiencing bring glory to You, let this season not be in vain. Thank You for being so gracious and kind to me, for sending me Your Spirit as my Comforter. Amen.
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