Friday, September 24, 2010

Peace and Victory DURING the Worst of Times

Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Our world is facing a time of need that is worse than what has been seen in a long time. Yet, to be sure though; people have suffered worse than what we could imagine. However, when you are the one going through a trial, it matters little what others have suffered. You tend to be closed minded and focus only on your need.
I have listened and am hearing how many of us who have been out of work for over two years are now contemplating suicide. In the most desperate of places, to end it all seems the only solution. Let, my humble words encourage you. You can have all you need, without having your prayers answered.
Years ago my son was in a hospital bed after consuming a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Tylenol. I cried out to the Lord on his behalf. Family and the church prayed for his life. The agony of not knowing if he was going to make it made me exhausted. I cried out to God, I do not remember the exact prayer. But, I felt like if God would fix this then all would be well. Well, God spared his life and all still was not well. I still did not sleep nights. The emotions ruled over any rational thought. I had no peace.
Another time, our finances were in ruins and I cried out to God for help. We had done our best and our best wasn’t good enough. We needed a miracle. It felt like the world was crashing in on us. If only a miracle would happen. A miracle did happen but not the way we expected it. We lost everything that could be parted with. Yet, God did not allow us to suffer in vain. He placed in us a portion of hope, where none could be seen.
My husband and I watched each other go through health issues. We prayed fervently and with as much faith as we had. Yet, we still go through battles.
To this day, many of our prayers have gone unanswered. Some of our prayers were answered in a different way than we had hoped. God is not a retailer who takes your order and delivers the color you want, the quantity and the right fit according to your specifications. His ways are higher than ours.
We have learned a most valuable lesson as we climb mountains and fight spiritual battles. The real thing we need as we go through any part of life is peace. When we cry out on behalf of a loved one or ourselves…what we are really needing is peace. More than the answers to those prayers, we need peace. The peace that passes understanding.
We sorted through our battles trying to decide how it all came to this. At first we went through a shocking revelation that we could not fix all of our problems. We then did what we knew to do. When all we could do was done and the situation remained, we became angry. We went through the guilt and shame stage. Then, we went through the stage where we felt hopeless. From hopelessness, came a revelation. Our fear was stronger than our faith.
We kept hearing that old phrase “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. Yet the words of Jesus were clear to us. 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”
Being without work for as long as many have endured is so difficult for this country to get used to. The shock of not using a credit card, or bankruptcy, losing our homes, marriages splitting, children on drugs, alcoholism, gang violence, prostitution, and the list goes on during these times. The news adds stress when we hear of the wars in other countries.
So, as Christians we pray. Yet, for many of us the prayers are for an end to our struggles. I stopped praying that way a long time ago. I felt strongly that the Lord would use whatever we have gone through to be a testimony of His grace and peace in the midst of it all.

You may think I am daft to pray like this. But, if all we ask for is an end to a present disaster, we might find that we have yet to grasp the meaning of peace that passes understanding. Our peace will only be in the end of a present situation. Yet, it will only last until the next disaster. If we can have the peace that passes understanding in the midst of the battle; whatever that may be…then we have already gotten the victory. Remember always dear Christian, the battle belongs to the Lord.
We do all we can do. Yet, in the end God calls us to pray and to ‘Come Unto Me all ye that are weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ To enter into that rest we first have to come to the understanding that God will answer our prayers in His divine way. He sees the total picture where we see only a sliver. He sees the future, and the best way to answer those prayers of ours.
He wants us to unload ourselves at His alter. To unburden ourselves. He wants us to talk to him. Not in a pleading whiney way, but in fellowship. As we refocus our eyes on Him, we see hope and have understanding. When we focus ourselves on Him, we receive what our spirit needs more than the answer to prayer. Peace.

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