Have you ever met someone that smiles through heartbreak and sleeps soundly at night even while chaos abounds? I certainly have and for many years these people baffled me. They have a calm composure which doesn’t line up with the reality around them. In the past, I’ve felt the need to reiterate the seriousness of the circumstance and remind them of what is on the line, as if to wake them up! The truth is, I wasn’t giving these warnings for their benefit. I was saying them for me. I didn’t want to feel so alone in my panic and desperation. I didn’t want to be reminded of the peace I was so obviously lacking by comparison.
By God’s grace, I have learned a few things about peace over the last couple of years. The truth is that real peace, unfailing peace, cannot be manufactured. It can’t be fabricated or mustered up from our own inner strength. Genuine peace, the kind that prevails in the face of pain, uncertainty, and disappointment, comes through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. Having grown up in church, I had heard about this “peace that passes all understanding” most of my life. But it felt like a vague, abstract concept; one that others testified about but something of which I had no personal experience. It wasn’t until God allowed me to be stripped of all control and certainty that I began to grasp the truth about HIS peace.
One of the biggest things I learned about God’s peace was a concept that surprised me but proved to be true in my life. Maybe this may resonate with others as well. This was the realization that peace may not come instantly. I thought that God’s presence and peace should flood my spirit in difficult times, without much effort on my part. God has been gracious enough to show me that since I had little experience learning to hear His voice or sense the genuine presence of His Spirit, I had difficulty becoming aware of His peace. It’s not that it wasn’t there. It definitely was and it is available to all who believe. It was more so as if the Holy Spirit was on one radio frequency and I was on another. The peace and presence was there for me, if I learned how to adjust the dial and tune in. When my husband and I were crying out to God to not let our daughter die, you’d think I would have sensed God’s presence…but I didn’t. At that time, all I felt was fear and panic. I recognized that, despite all my years following Jesus, I didn’t know His voice well enough to hear Him clearly during difficult times. He was there that day and His peace was available but I didn’t know how to recognize it or lean on it. As I dove into His Word and spent time in His presence, I began to learn what the Holy Spirit feels like and sounds like to me. I started to differentiate Him from my own chaotic thoughts. It took time and practice!
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
Another thing I learned is that, the more I was spending time in God’s presence and sensing the Holy Spirit minister to me in my heartache, the more I also sensed Him pruning me. As He filled me up with more of Him, there was less room in my life for junk. I stopped wanting to watch certain TV shows, have certain conversations, or entertain certain attitudes. My appetite for things that were not pleasing to God decreased as I let Him continue to work in my heart. He didn’t want to simply give me peace. He wanted to clean my heart so He could pour His Spirit on me daily, in ways I could experience – peace, love, joy, patience, and more! In order to do that, I had to become a cleaner vessel through which He could operate.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Another truth I learned makes my heart fill with joy. It is the truth that, with God, there is always more to learn and experience! I’ve been amazed at the depth of God. He has never-ending mysteries that He reveals to those that seek Him. The deeper you go, the more fascinating and exciting He gets! The more He reveals to our hearts, the more we sense His presence, His peace, and His direction. It’s like a bottomless pool of discovery and it is anything but boring or predictable!
“Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
So, I’ve come to realize that those people in my life that didn’t panic when I thought they “should”, were not “out of touch with reality”. They deliberately chose to put their trust in their beloved Father. Because of their trust, their closeness with Him, and their heart being “tuned in” to His presence, they experience His peace. It truly is a peace that goes beyond understanding and logic. It’s a supernatural, overwhelming reassurance that cannot be duplicated by anything in this world. And it’s available to all of us! His arms are open for us to run to Him to discover all that He has for us! How amazing! Friends, let’s not waste another day being ruled by our stresses and fears. Let’s start running to the One who has unending riches of joy and peace!
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Love and blessings,