Monday, November 30, 2009

Peace in Trials

Obedience guarantees the presence of the God of peace. When Christians do as they have learned from God and His people, we know the reality of Him being with us. That is why Paul wrote:
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)
I don’t think I have ever been more exhausted than I was yesterday, but God was with me. Things happened that might have otherwise produced anxiety or annoyance, but neither happened. It could have been because I was too tired to be riled, but I’m certain that it was more because He was there.

The presence of someone with a strong personality affects the mood of any gathering. My brother is a natural comedian. When we had visitors and he was being his normal self, everyone was laughing and happy. I had an aunt who was always complaining and finding fault. She had an effect on a gathering too. Sometimes one person can make or break the atmosphere at a party.

Yesterday, our party consisted of mostly Christians. Each one of them brought the presence of God. He is the invisible guest when we get together, but His presence is made visible by the relaxed mood and joyful attitude of His people.

Today’s devotional reading says that the apostle Paul often called the Lord the God of peace. Some examples: “Now the God of peace be with you all” (Romans 15:33). “The God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11), and “May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way” (2 Thessalonians  3:16).

God’s character is peace, making Him both the origin and giver of peace. My definition of peace is knowing that all of life, all events past, present and future, and in all places are all under His control. Peace is being sure that life is never haphazard and that a loving God is working out His perfect plans.

At the party yesterday we watched the Grey Cup, our Canadian football final. The game was seconds from the end when the team from the west made an unbelievable error, giving the other team opportunity to redo a missed field goal. They didn’t miss the second time and won the cup.

The feeling was something like you’d feel if you dropped your wallet or car keys off a bridge over the Grand Canyon — only ten times worst an “oops” than that. The defensive coach for that team lives across the street from us. He is a Christian and I wonder how he responded to this. I’m sure that the team, at least for a long while, did not experience peace, but more like having the rug pulled from under you.

Yet as I think about it today, the peace of God is vast enough for anything that happens. His presence never leaves His people. He helps us have godly attitudes, thoughts, and actions. He offers His supernatural peace and that peace guards our hearts. His peace provides comfort, tranquility, quietness, and confidence in the midst of any trial.

For me yesterday it was being so tired that I could barely stay awake, yet was able to take care of my guests and stay calm. For the Christian players on both teams for that game yesterday, it will involve different challenges and yet God can also give peace to their hearts, flying high or dropped off a cliff, because that is who He is.

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