How are you finding peace?
I need peace.
There's limited Peace in my life right now. I have a confession. I'm trying to get my third novel finished and to the publisher this year. (Plus working full-time and doing family stuff...although Spring Break went longer than expected this year.) Ever since my concussion in February of 2019, I'm unable to switch back and forth easily from blog post writing to fiction writing. Because of this, I'm trying to get a bit ahead here, so I can start the editing process on the book.
Today, it's now the end of February, and I've been anxious for a few weeks now. The kind of anxiety that keeps me up at night and makes me chew my nails. My leg jitters, and my mind spins out of control. Why? I find out tomorrow if I need surgery on my elbow. My right elbow which is important in my right-handedness. The enemy (who loves to steal our peace, BTW) has been working overtime on me.
EDIT: We are also dealing with Corona virus. Yikes! That's enough to worry everyone!
Get on the boat
Last time, our peace study had us examine when Christ fed the multitude. Today we're looking at what happened next. (Matt. 14:22-33)
Here we see the disciples who just collected 12 baskets of leftovers from the 5 loaves and 2 fish...You can read that here- (Don't you know the topic of discussion on that boat ride across the lake was NOT the weather?) Christ had gone up the mountain to pray through the night. He told His men to get on the boat and go across the lake. They obeyed.
So, everything turned out great, right? Nope. Sometimes we Christians expect clear sailing just because we've been obedient with the last thing God told us to do. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not the way it works.
Waves had started to pummel the boat, and it was far from the shore because of the wind working against it. On the boat, we have experienced fishermen, but they are fighting the wind and the water. There is probably limited peace on this boat as well.
Look for Jesus
Just before dawn, Jesus came out to join them -- only He didn't have a boat. So He walked! And when the men on the boat SAW someone walking toward them, whatever peace the disciples had...vanished. "They were terrified," (v. 26). They called their Teacher a ghost, and they cried out in fear.
But Jesus called out to them, "Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid." (v. 27) See it? Fear. Fear and peace are opposites. Only one can be in control at a time.
It's okay to verify
Oh, Peter. I love Peter. So bold. So impetuous. "IF it's you, Lord, tell me to come to you on the water," (v. 28)
Jesus didn't berate him. He didn't give Pete a lecture on how human feet can't do the whole water-walking thing. Nope, in fact, Christ's answer was a single word: Come.
That's a big leap of faith, folks. Having just watched their leader feed so many and having collected so much extra food, Pete knew his request was not impossible for Jesus. "Tell me to come to you on the water." In other words, "Christ, Son of God, tell me - even in the midst of my fear - tell me to do something I know only You can make possible." And Jesus readily agreed
Walk to the Source of Peace
Peter then got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. When walking toward someone - shortly before the sun comes up - in the long shadows of the pre-dawn hours - we look at the goal. We focus on the one we're walking toward.
Focus on Jesus
Verse 30 says, "But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'" Pete was fine while his focus was on Jesus, but when he focused on his circumstances, he lost his peace. You see, Pete didn't have what we do. He didn't have the Holy Spirit within him. So his only source of peace was external. And when he turned to see the wind, he stopped moving forward. He stopped obeying the very command he had just asked Jesus to give him.
It's reassuring to me that Peter's attention span was perhaps even shorter than my own. As he began to sink, he cried out for help to the ONE he knew could save him. Notice it doesn't say he reached for Jesus, as if Christ was close enough to touch. No, he cried out in his fear to the source of peace.
Immediately. That's how fast Jesus took hold of Pete's hand (v. 30) "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'Why did you doubt?'" Jesus covered the distance between them instantly - just like He could have gotten from the shore to the boat - instantly. But He didn't. He walked on water to give us this amazing story.
And today I saw the missing piece (IE) to my missing peace (EA).
Where was my focus? On the 1,001 what if's I'd been asking myself. What if I have surgery? How will I type? Drive? Cook? Write? Sign my name? Get dressed? Tie my shoes? What if COVID-19 comes to my town? Will it cancel my surgery? Will it attack someone I love?
So one night this past week, as my IF-ing kept me awake, God's Holy 2x4 whacked me in the forehead with this story.
I started whispering the name of the Prince of Peace. Why? Because it's the fastest way to come into His presence. I promise you, the first time I said it, I felt better. The 2nd time, I smiled. With the 3rd whisper, my shoulders relaxed. And I can't tell you if I even said it again or not.
I slept in peace.
John 16:33 - "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Father God, we thank you for the peace You give to us. We only need to ask. Remind us that Your peace is within us in every circumstance. May we always reach out to You when we lose our focus.
UPDATE: Surgery was scheduled for April 10th - then postponed for viral reasons, but I won't have to keep it immobile. God is so good!
Thank you for dropping by today. Connect with me on Social Media and share a time when God's peace made a difference for you.
If you are experiencing fear during the COVID-19 pandemic, join my FREE course: Less Fear More Jesus here.by