Friday, April 28, 2006

LBY - Week Five - Peace

This week our LBY study was on peace. When I discovered that, I wanted to crawl into a corner and throw a blanket over my head, because I knew that God would be dealing. with. me. (now snap three times in a “z” formation.)

He did not disappoint. I have in fact been "dealt with."

Over the last five or six years, I have struggled – no, I’ve WRESTLED – with peace. There are several reasons why, but the biggest one is that I “took on” battles that had nothing to do with me and tried to make them my own. Because I am impatient, I seemed to get the idea that I could speed along the process with my constant questioning, inquiring, checking up, monitoring, etc. And if I could give you any advice as a result of what I’ve experienced, it would be this: Be Ye Not So Foolish.

I don’t know if you’ve ever sat awake at night trying to figure out why something is the way it is, why such and such happened, what would you do if you were faced with so and so…but it is misery. It’s no way to live, because it forces you into “half life” mode where you go through the motions but are constantly aware of the hollow feeling in your stomach, the racing of your heart, and the uncertainty and doubt in your mind.

And the devil LOVES it, by the way.

Beth says that because peace and joy are so inextricably linked, the devil “will most certainly steal our joy if he can undermine our peace. Striving, churning, tossing, turning, bitter, burning, never learning….”

A couple of years ago I did the Beth Moore Believing God study, and it was the first step toward some serious progress in this area of my life. One of the very first things we learned in that study is that “God is Who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do.” Those two simple sentences have done so much for me in terms of reminding me that when God promises me something in Scripture, I can bank on it…and that includes His promises that I can have peace. And not just regular ole peace – HIS peace.

Beth uses the example of the loaves and the fishes to illustrate what it means to rest in God’s peace. She points out that when Jesus was faced with a crowd of thousands of hungry people and some mighty limited resources, “[He] had perfect peace in provision. He did not fret. He did not form a committee to plan a covered-dish dinner.” (Can I get an "amen"?) What He DID do was this:

"He made them aware of their need.
He took what little they had.
He placed them in a posture to rest.
He gave them 'immeasurably more' than they
could 'ask or imagine.'"
(Eph. 3:20)

Beth goes on to say, “Christ was perfectly at peace with the needs of His followers because He had perfect confidence in His Father’s provision.” [emphasis mine]

Just so you know, when I read that quote the first time, out in my margins I wrote, “Oh, that’s GOOD.”

Wouldn’t our lives be overflowing with joy if we rested in God’s perfect peace because we trusted His perfect provision? If we realized that we can’t fight everyone's battles, and that's okay - because He's already won the war? If we truly trusted that God is in control, and that He will do as He promises and “graciously give us all things”? (Romans 8:32)

For me, trusting God's provision is the key to experiencing peace. That may be so basic, so simple to most of y'all - but to me, it's a revelation. I even wrote in my notes this week, "I have known this all along in my head - but I'm just now getting it my heart."

Understanding this truth in my heart doesn't mean that I won't have troubles; in fact, Beth remarks that "peace means the absence of fear and turmoil, not the absence of pain and grief." And I do think I "get" that. Finally.

For so long I thought that peace was something that had to "happen" and that it could only exist if all my problems were resolved and out of the picture. But peace has nothing to do with circumstances, because "he himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14a). He doesn't change - even when my circumstances do.

Y'all know that music speaks to me in ways that words alone cannot - and all week long I've been so aware of the message of God's peace in different songs I've been listening to. This morning I thought it would be neat if I could find a video online of Avalon's "You Were There," because that song in particular has been my anthem this week. And I did find a video, but it was followed by a lengthy sermon from a church with which I'm not familiar. So, you know, probably not a great idea.

But as I was clicking around, I ran across this Hillsong video - and the song is just a perfect summation of what we've been learning this week. If you're distracted by people moving their hands during worship, then just shrink the window on your computer and listen to the lyrics.

I've thought a lot this week about the words "trust," "peace" and "joy" - and I finally realized today that without the power of the Holy Spirit, they don't mean anything at all.

"Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Knowing He is God
In quietness and trust
When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father, you are King over the flood
I will be still, knowing you are God."

JannaFlipflop Robin
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for the next ten weeks, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.


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