|"I found in the peace of God the strength that I lack in trying to tackle everything by myself."
I SAT AND STARED at the TV hung high in the restaurant where six different news programs played at once. I couldn’t hear the words but from the pictures, soon became upset at all the bad news going on in the world. “How do you stand it?” I asked God. It was too much for me. And the Holy Spirit replied, “I have it all under my control.” My human mind can’t wrap around this. I am such a simple person. Everything should be listed as steps one through three and each of those steps stated in five words or less. Despite my writing recently, which comes straight from the Spirit (on my own I can write nothing), I just don’t want to know all the details of most things.
There’s no joy in my heart, knowing what horrible things men have done. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our care upon God because He cares for us. Whenever I become overwhelmed, as I was that day in the restaurant, I will shift my shoulders as if releasing their weight and tell God, “Here, you carry it.” Not because I’m being irresponsible, but because I’m just not capable, and He is. It’s too much, all the wars and rumors of wars, the earthquakes and famines, people hurting people because they can and they want to. But what seems like chaos to me is manageable to Him. He knows the depth of it, how far it will go, and exactly how it will end.
We’re too human. We don’t realize, in our day-to-day existence, how small-minded we are. Me, personally, I’m content to know He’s bigger than me and smarter and stronger. But again and again, since time began, we see where men made choices, thinking they “knew God” and could handle things, only to botch them up royally and either pay a steep price or need God to bail them out. I mean, where is the civilization of ancient Egypt today? The nation exists but those artifacts and monoliths are empty and vain now. Where are the Aztecs, who thought their worship would get them somewhere? And if you look at it, it all seems the same. Men make gods from their humanistic thinking, gods who act like beasts because that’s what’s in the minds of unsaved men, and those gods are as hollow as a tin can, and really, what’s fueling all this destruction is an enemy who Jesus died and rose again to defeat. Who He did defeat. Something some know but few uphold.
“And when He (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will bring conviction to worldly people about sin and uprightness and judgment … about judgment, because the evil ruler of this world has been condemned.” (John 16:11 Williams)
Even within the church there is disorder. I saw two stories recently where people, who are supposed to act like Christ, were too busy criticizing and pointing fingers, to see the incorrectness of it. In one, an actor in a popular Christian movie was being barraged with complaints because he was seen with secular actors, smiling. Are we to be the salt and the light or not? What good is salt gathered in the corner of the plate? What good is our church, set up on its own mountain, padded by pews, while we let suffering people pass by us in the marketplace? There’s a grocery store near where I work that I frequent, and I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve gone in there, and when I leave, the Holy Spirit has me pray for those inside. I keep asking myself in those moments, “Who prays for them? Who prays for him? Who prays for her?” Probably no one.
“Be wise when you interact with non-Christians —those who don’t know the truth about God as revealed by Jesus; seek every opportunity to reveal this healing truth to them in gentleness and love. Talk with them graciously, gently sprinkling new truth in appropriate amounts—like salt: enough to whet their appetites for more, but not so much that it makes it too hard to comprehend or handle all at once. Practice this so that you may become efficient and know how to share God’s healing truth with everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6, Remedy)
In another story, a well-known newsman had no problem writing details of a problem involving the church because so many Christians were willing to point fingers. He said he didn’t even have to do any digging for information. This is wrong on so many levels. When Jesus went to His hometown, the people there knew of His miracles, heard the authority in His words, and couldn’t believe what “this boy from Nazareth” had become, so much so they turned Him aside. He couldn’t heal but a few sick people due to their unbelief. Even worse, they became angry and were willing to push Him off a cliff to shut Him up. Have we become the same? Are we mocking Jesus for eating with publicans and sinners? He’s nothing but a drunkard and a winebibber. Where is LOVE ONE ANOTHER? Where is PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES and PRAY FOR ALL MEN?
This means, even when it’s hard and we don’t want to. Especially when it’s hard and we don’t want to. We mature by setting our petty feelings and immense burdens against each other down and doing what God has given us to do. God sent Jesus to die for WHOSOEVER, and it isn’t our job to decide WHO that is. We should see people making wrong decisions and feel compassion. We should pray for them and pray for God’s hand to move when they are causing difficult problems. He always has a solution. It really is in His control, and we are told NOT TO BE ANXIOUS. We are promised PEACE SO GREAT IT PASSES HUMAN UNDERSTANDING, and that’s what I want every hour of the day.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
We feed on too much in the world – entertainment, news cycles, politics. We give the troubles around us too much air between our ears and God not enough. We go to dinner with friends and gossip about each other. Honestly, I’d rather discuss the food, my errands tomorrow, or hey, here’s one – Jesus. Let’s just talk about Jesus. He makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I remember once, age 21ish, saying the Bible was boring. I don’t think that way these-many years later. The words I didn’t get in my immature youth have saved my life since then, and the mercy of God has become the greatest, most beautiful thing to me. The Holy Spirit is my best friend. How can this be? Because I found in the peace of God the strength that I lack in trying to tackle everything by myself. He has the broader shoulders, as my mother has always said, and the broader shoulders can carry the weight. No one loves me as much as Papa God.
Can the God who created the earth and all that’s in it in six days, who planned salvation before He ever uttered one word over it, can that God who parted seas and made dry land, who calmed storms, who raised the dead, really take care of His children until the day the King of Kings, His Son, comes back again? Will the trumpet really sound and the dead in Christ rise first? Will we which are alive and remain be caught up in the clouds, and then all the prophecies of Revelation which men have consumed like tomorrow’s fodder come true just as they are described? Most of all, will the Almighty Jehovah, the self-Existent One, who has no beginning and no end, be able to wrap all this up just as He said? It’s beyond my thinking, but not beyond His, and there in Isaiah 55:8-9, we find the truth of it. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Higher and far beyond what we could ever ask or think. Comfort each other with these words.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
Photo by Artiom Vallat on Unsplash
Suzanne D. Williams, Author