Last time we looked at how Jesus was able to maintain peace in His life and found out that prayer played a big part in His serenity. What I would like to look at today is how we can do that same thing in our own lives. Some of you may be thinking that if I only knew what situation you were facing right now, that I wouldn’t be so quick to talk about being peaceful.
Let me say, I hear you! I have been through a few tragedies in my life, and I know how desperation and despair feels. But, I have also seen my Lord move into each situation and restore hope in my life where it had previously been dead. What we need to focus on is not the situation, but the only One on heaven and earth who has the power to bring life out of dead things and peace out of chaos: Jesus.
First of all, let me ask you, What situation do you need peace in right now? Let’s just start with the hardest thing and get it out in the open. Maybe you’re even afraid to mention it to your friends or family anymore because it has dragged on for so long, or maybe it’s a fresh worry. But acknowledge to yourself what it is. May I also suggest an activity for you?
I would like to suggest that you write down what it is that you need peace about in a notebook. Write down everything about it and your prayers for the situation. Ask God to give you a specific scripture(s) to pray for the situation and invite Him to begin working. Then try to rest in that. Continue to write and journal and pray about the situation and record how you see God working. It may be that over time you see a person you have been praying for changed. Or, it may be that it is YOU that God changes instead. It may be that an ill person you want healed for earth instead dies and is healed to heaven. If that is the case, continue to record how God is moving in the midst of that tragedy in your life. Over time, you will begin to see patterns of God living and working in your life.
Often times just the actual writing down can help bring us a peace, but the real peace comes from understanding this scripture: And we know that all things work together for good to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
In the times when our prayers are not answered the way we want them to be, when the sick are not healed, or when the job does not come through for example, this does not make this any less of an answer; it is just a different answer. I begin to cultivate peace in these situations when I cling to God’s promise that He will work together to bring good out of this desperate situation. Be persistent in prayer and know that you have God’s word that He will bring good. Be waiting and watchful and record the good when you see it.
It also helps to keep the big picture in mind. Encouraging to me is the meaning of the word peace from John 14:27. The Blue Letter Bible defines peace in one instance as ” the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever that is.” When we know that our big picture is taken care of, other things tend to pale in comparison.
Cultivating a life of prayer and peace is only attained through persistence. God does not minimize our earthly trials. He walks and prays us through them.