At times, God calls us to wait on Him to act. While we are waiting we are to continue seeking Him. To do the study, Wait, Seek and Hope, just click on the link!
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.
But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
Very early on Easter morning Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices to Jesus’ tomb so that they might anoint His body. Can you imagine the surprise, the shock, the fear they must have felt in finding Jesus missing from His tomb and in His place a heavenly messenger with the stunning news that Jesus had risen from the dead?! They were the first to receive this news, and yet they were so afraid that the Bible tells us they fled from the tomb and said nothing to anyone. I am sure they were trying to piece together in their minds what they had just seen–and not seen.
Later, a distraught Mary Magdalene is back searching for Jesus when He appears to her. How touching that the first person He chooses to appear to is the one whom He had cast seven demons out of. I think Mary Magdalene was clinging to her faith in Jesus despite the circumstances. She had been set free from such bondage; she above all others had to realize that no earthly power could have performed the miraculous healing that she received.
Now the word starts to spread that Jesus is alive, but Jesus’ disciples don’t believe it until they see Him for themselves. Soon they begin to realize that the plan is much bigger than they ever imagined–a heavenly kingdom, not an earthly reign. And they will be the ones to start spreading the good news.
I love the joy and power of Easter morning. Because of Easter morning we have hope. Hope that we can change. That we can be set free. That we can forgive. That we can love. That we can be forgiven and healed and restored to the relationship with God we were meant to have.
This Easter morning found me on the beach in St. Augustine basking in a beautiful sunrise while the chorus of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” wafted down the beach to me from an outdoor service a mile away. It’s easy in this setting to sense the magic of Easter. But what’s important is that this message is for every person in every place, from a beach in Florida to a slum in Calcutta to a prison in China to wherever you are, as you are. Don’t wait until you “get your act together” to come to Jesus, because none of us ever can without His help. That’s what He came for and that’s why He died and that’s why He rose again.
Happy Easter and pray on!
Has this been a hard week? Do you feel like you’re hanging by a thread? This can be a good thing! To download an easily printable version of this study please click on the link!