02 September, 2015

Peace In the Midst of It All

I'm certain I'm not the only one who often finds themselves seemingly caught up in a whirlwind, with so much to do, so many things pulling at you, that you just don't know how you are going to get them all done. And it just seems like it is not going to stop. Of course it does, but for that season or time, it is relentless. I'm in the midst of one of those seasons right now. There are so many things that need to be done... many that MUST be done right now, which pushes others to the back of the stove... yet again. And it seems I just cannot get caught up.  Yesterday started out with me already exhausted. I'd not gotten settled down and to sleep until well after 3:00 in the morning and by noon I was dragging because I'd already been to the bank, post office, done some shopping that needed to be done, been to Peoria to see a member in the hospital and back, fielded 6 or 7 phone calls while making that drive and dealing with other people's problems, upset people because I've not had time to do what they wanted me to do for them and all the while trying to spend some time praying about my Wednesday night service and trying to go through the checklist of things I had to do for the wedding rehearsal later in the day... when I pulled up to the church and saw that the grass had grown incredibly since Sunday and it had to be mowed this week and I knew that the rest of the week was out of the question, so my plans were abruptly shifted and I ran home to change and load up my mower and I spent the next 3 hours mowing in the extreme heat... and wondering how I was going to get everything else done that needed to be done. The whirlwind was getting larger than life.

I was trying to pray while mowing... trying mind you... but my mind was racing. Trying to calm my mind and spirit, I found myself singing an old, old song, "Peace, Peace, wonderful Peace...Coming down from the Father above... Sweep over spirit forever I pray... In fathomless billows of love." There in the heat and dust a calm came over me and I began to realize that the most important thing is not the office work, nor the baptismal tank, nor even trying to visit the members who've not been to church... the most important thing was worshipping my God and getting in His presence. At first, I was "singing" in my head... then quietly to myself, then out loud, not caring who else heard.   As I sang it dawned on me that true peace isn't the absence of conflict or duty that pulls at you... true peace is the absence of the effect of those things. True peace is standing firm in the midst of the whirlwind... not because who we are nor how strong we are... but because of whose we are and how strong He is.

I don't have to tell you that things are crazy in our world right now. Politically, this Nation is in a crisis of truth. I'll leave it at that. Morally, we are in the sewer. Socially... I don't even know where to begin, but let's take a stab at this... the trend is to murder our men in blue because they are trying to protect us... how twisted is that for a society?  No...all is not always well in our world. Some people seem to live oblivious to what is happening in the world around them, but most of us at some point struggle with issues. And the bottom line is we all have "stuff" going on in our lives.. Our lives are filled with conflict, confusion and spiritual unrest. We all struggle with issues... family, finances, stress as we face things we didn't sign up for and we wonder how it is that we find this issue on our plate. We must face and deal with the whirlwind. 

And yet, Jesus promised to give us peace. In John 14:27 Jesus said, " Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."   The Bible goes on the say that there is a "perfect peace" for those who have the ability to stay focused and keep their minds on God, rather than the things of the world. In fact the Bible promises to us a peace that is beyond our capacity to even understand.  That's amazing! 

Have you ever seen someone walking through the storm above all storms and they just seem to be at peace? People will say of such a person, "They've lost it! They are not in touch with reality." Well... I propose that maybe they ARE in touch with reality! Because reality is not found in the temporal things of this world, but in keeping our minds stayed or focused on things above. When you come to the place that you are thinking on an eternal level, the potholes we face here are nothing more than a bump in the road!
It causes people who are going through literal Hell on earth to be able to stand strong and say, "It is well with my soul!"
The world around them, and even the world within them may be in the midst of the biggest storm of their life... yet they keep their mind on Christ. When you are able to do that, then you rise above the storms.

We need to come to understand that life in Christ doesn't promise a stormless existence, it promises peace in the midst and in spite of the storm. It promises us peace when the storm is raging and it seems, in the natural, to be hopeless.  Jesus never promise sunny skies and smooth sailing all the time. He promised that when we pass through the waters, they will not over take us! When we pass through the fire, it will not harm us! This is the peace that Christ offers to those who keep their minds on the Father.

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