Sunday, July 15, 2012

Peace, Be Still

What storms do you face right now?

Here are a few that my family has experienced over the years:

 • Deaths of parents, siblings, and close friends

• Serious chronic health problems

• Job loss

 • Serious accidents and injuries

• Torture and rape of a child

• Life-threatening hospitalizations

That’s the short list.

Life is filled with storms that threaten to overwhelm us, capsize our boats, and sink our spirits. The experience of morality is not easy. Yet, even amid the storms, we can find peace. God will either calm the storm or give us strength to endure it when we trust in Him.

I have seen God calm some serious storms in my life. Loved ones have been miraculously healed. Friends and family have appeared to comfort and bless me when I became too weary to carry on. At times God has encircled me in the arms of His love.

But there are seasons when the storms rage even though we plead for Divine intervention. We feel lost and alone. Our burdens become too heavy to bear. During those times, we can either turn to God for strength or we can attempt to go it alone.

 Remember Peter, who had enough faith to walk on the water towards Jesus. As long as His eyes were focused on Christ, he succeeded. As soon as he focused on the threatening waves surrounding Him, he sank. Life is like that. Our thoughts and priorities determine whether we find peace or misery amid the storms of life.

 If we focus on fear, bitterness or anger, our lives seem hopeless. We feel overwhelmed with each new storm that appears in our lives. When we center our thoughts on the Savior, we discover that He wants to carry our burdens, to heal our broken hearts, and to give us peace even when life is very, very difficult.

Shortly before Jesus was suffered in Gethsemane and was crucified at Calvary, he counseled his disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (New Living Translation).

 Christ promises that amid the challenges of life, we can be of good cheer because he has overcome the world, conquering death and sin. As we trust in Him completely, we can find peace amid sorrow.

So how do we find this peace?

• Learn of Him. Study his words. Become acquainted with God and make Him your closest and dearest friend.

• Listen to Him. Pray continually, praising God and asking to needful blessings. Listen to His words which speak peace to our souls.

• Remember Him. Throughout the day as you face trials and challenges, consider how he responded to difficulties and follow His example of patience, love, and faithfulness.

• Trust Him. Give me all your cares, worries, fears, and concerns, and trust that He will carry them and carry you.

• Love Him. Bask in His perfect and unspeakable love. Allow Him to enfold you in the arms of His love. Turn your heart, energy, mind, and strength to loving Him, praising Him, worshiping Him, and honoring Him. He is alone worthy of all of our love, devotion, faith, trust, and gratitude.

During the past year, I determined to know God better. I feasted on His word, sometimes spending hours studying the Bible each morning. I prayed more intently, and I remembered Him throughout the day. Today I feel that I know God more intimately than I ever before.  That season prepared me for a significant storm.

This month tragedy has again struck our family. Our youngest son has been diagnosed with a rare, incurable and painful disease. As he, his wife, and we are coming to grips with this difficult news, we can either become bitter or better. Our decision to either turn away from God or keep our hearts focused on Him will determine whether we can find peace amid this mighty storm.

God promises:

 • Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

• Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct (or make smooth) your paths.

• Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

• The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
• What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

• And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Today as you face the storms of your life, focus on God’s love, goodness, mercy, and compassion. Allow Him to comfort you, to carry to, to make you whole.

© Carol Brown

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