Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Peace in the Face of Trouble

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Christopher Sardegna

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:4-7

The older I get, the more I see the trouble (with a capital T sometimes!) that can come in life - and I’m only 30! As we quickly approach the ten-years-married mark, we have seen a statistic come true in the lives of some of our peers: the statistic that says between years five and seven, many marriages begin to fall apart. It’s so sad to watch. Add onto that the folks we know who are battling chronic illness, broken relationships, unmet desires, financial struggles, parenting hardships, loss of loved ones, and more, and it can all feel like just too much at times.

Living in the reality of this, it can be easy to ask that age-old question, Where is God when bad things happen? Or, put another way, How can God still be good while also allowing bad things to happen?

This is where free will and human responsibility come in, and where we mustn’t blame God for that which He is not ultimately responsible. God didn’t create evil, nor did He make trouble enter into our lives. Since the fall and its subsequent curse, the enemy has been ever ready to wreak havoc in all of our lives in one form of trouble or another (or, as the case is sometimes, many forms all at once!). As seen in the case of Job, sometimes God allows this to happen, all the while knowing that He will undoubtedly bring good from it in the end. 

But what about before the fall? I remember thinking for years, If God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then why did He put it there in the middle of the garden? How could He blame them for eating of it, when He was practically tempting them with it?

Years ago I heard the most beautiful explanation of this that I had ever heard before on a podcast friends of mine used to have. In an episode on creation and the fall, they made the point that what God wanted when He created man and woman was a loving, intimate relationship with them. He wasn’t interested in creating robots that He was going to force to love Him in return. He wanted a mutual, reciprocal relationship with them based on their choice to want to love and follow Him. After all, if it’s one person’s will forced upon another, then it isn’t love. So, what did God do? He put that tree in the Garden, providing Adam and Eve with a choice. They could eat of the tree of which God told them not to eat, or they could choose to obey God and love Him more. It was their choice specifically because God loved them so much and wanted their love voluntarily offered in return. Isn’t that beautiful? 

This is what we have to keep in mind today and everyday, friends: there is still peace to be found. Whether your year is moving along quite nicely or whether you are in the middle of a season of grief and worry or stress, peace can still be yours. 

The best news about this is that the peace of God is unlike anything this world has to offer. It isn’t contingent upon having a life of perfect circumstances, it isn’t only present when all is going well but then disappears when it isn’t, and it certainly isn’t beholden to the ebb and flow of life’s happenings. It is constant, present, full, and sufficient - when we allow it to be! 

What do I mean by that? Well, we see in Galatians 5 that peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit. While many of us commonly make the mistake of attempting to muster up within ourselves these sought-after fruits, that never works (nor does it last for more than a few hours - ask me how I know!). 

Instead, we also read in Galatians 5 that it is only when we walk by the Spirit that we will not give in to the desires of the flesh. Meaning, that it is when we walk by the Spirit, communing with the Father in prayer, abiding in Christ, and spending time in the Word that these fruits are made manifest in our everyday lives. These fruits - love, joy, peace, patience, and so on - are already within us from the moment the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence within us. But if we are not walking by the Spirit, it will be the fruits of our old nature which rise to the surface. When, however, we purpose to walk by the Spirit, it is then that the character of that Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, etc. - will begin to naturally rise to the surface and be made manifest in our lives. All we have to do is abide in Christ and walk by the Spirit! 

I hope this takes a load off today, friend. I hope that you are able to feel that peace which passes all understanding even though you are experiencing whatever trouble may be on your plate at this very moment. With Christ, there is always hope, and that means there can also always be peace.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” ~John 14:27

Reflection Questions:

1) Are you feeling peaceful in this moment? If not, why not?

2) When you are lacking peace, what do you most often do? Who do you go to? Who should you go to?

3) How can Jesus truly be your Prince of Peace in this season?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by, we love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact us with any prayer requests or questions by commenting below or emailing us at the About Us page.