Oh peace, why do I often forfeit you? Why do I so quickly let outward things interrupt you? Why do we chase after peace and attempt to grab it as if it is something tangible – something that can be held or created by human will power? I’m a fan of discipline, and setting our minds on things above and renewing them all day long because it is needed and life giving, but do I think I can create and manage it on my own?
The peace of God isn’t interrupted. The peace of man is. It doesn’t mean we are superficially happy all the time and forget to “be” where we are, lamenting and grieving when it is called for…It means that if you’re in Christ the peace you have to pull up from the roots of your being, is unshakeable. The peace of God surpasses all understanding and leaves bystanders wondering, “how?” in a moment of hardship, a long day, or when you “should” be easily frustrated. But peace isn’t totally a mystery. Isaiah reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.” (Isaiah 26:3). Romans 8:6 exhorts us, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (these verses in their fuller context take on more depth and meaning, check them out! Also, an always applicable Philippians 4!)
How often does my peace get interrupted by endless questions from the 3 year old, a sick child, unexpected news, a rough day, and mundane tasks that never seem to get accomplished?
I don’t want to miss the opportunity, the invitation even, to worship Him in what He has for me today. When do I miss Him in the midst of laundry, hard conversations, and temper tantrums, or fear of the future? When do I miss Him in the midst of excitement, giggles, good stories, a beautiful sunset, and yummy food? With my mind stayed on Him, trusting what He gives – however monotonous or overwhelming – I can worship Him in what He has for me. I long to worship God in what He has for me each day – what He gives me each day, because nothing – nothing – is out of His control.
Here’s what Elizabeth Elliot says is the secret: Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. I am the same me in any set of circumstances. As the old sayings goes, “wherever I am, there I am”. Do I let my peace get interrupted because I fail to see even interruptions as from the Lord? What if the interruptions are actually the plan? The plan to humble me, love me, transform me, and others around me. Can I see them as gifts, even? Whew. That’s hard, huh? Easy to write as I sit uninterrupted drinking flavored coffee. Almost impossible to remember in the midst of the chaos of the every day crazy, or the monotony that can feel purposeless. Can I quote Elliot again? (Well, I am, because I never grow tired of her wisdom!) She says, “Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands. (Keep A Quiet Heart)
He is my portion and He is enough. He is YOUR portion and He is enough…May we set our minds on that truth and let the peace of God overtake us.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you….The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance…I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall never be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure…You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at you right hand are pleasure forever more.