I just love God’s sense of humor. Why is it that we can pray and ask, ask and pray for something for years sometimes and then when He answers the cry of our heart we freak out? This is happening to me right now. There’s this opportunity I’ve been waiting for, praying for, for many years now. I decided that I wasn’t going to make this thing happen. I can be quite persuasive and determined when I want something. Eventually I learned that when I make things happen, they aren’t always in His timing and so the outcome isn’t always what I hoped for. No, I’d be better off waiting patiently for Him to bring a thing around if it’s meant to be.
So I took my hope and left it at His throne. “Good,” I stated as I wiped my hands clean of it’s influence. Every once in awhile I’d look longingly at that thing, lying there at His feet, wondering if it would ever come to pass. I never forgot about it for the reach of that desire is entwined deeply inside of me. I made up my mind; if it was going to happen, it was going to come through God’s hands, not mine.
Three weeks ago the opportunity came knocking. What? “Now God? It’s been laying there so long with You I almost gave up on it,” I lamented. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I really wanted to do it anymore. But there it was, an opportunity to do the very thing I’ve dreamed of for a very long time.
The point of all this rests in a scripture I ran across the other day. “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” John 14:25-27 (MSG).
I love how the Message Bible says it: I’m giving you My peace, leaving you well and whole. You don’t have to feel abandoned and grieving, upset and distraught. No, I’m leaving you my gift of peace. So how come I don’t always feel so peaceful?
Here is what He showed me, five ways to move into His peace:
1) Receive. In this day and culture, it’s not easy to receive. We’re all pretty good at giving, but that receiving thing, um, not so much. In my case, I must now reach out my hands and receive this answer to prayer. My Father has determined that the time is right for this. He’s given me a gift, something He knows I’m ready for now. It’s time for me to receive it to myself.
2) Rest. See the photo at the top of this blog? That’s my place! Oh how I wish it were in my backyard. Sitting at the side of rivers or streams is my particular piece of heaven on earth. I love to sit by rivers and just rest. When I’m particularly bothered with something, sitting by a stream or river is the quickest way I know to give it up to Him and get my perspective back in alignment. Sitting in my special corner of the world is one way I can get myself gathered so I can proceed to the next step.
3) Reply. This is where I now have to talk things over with God. This is the time for “I’m scared God, how on earth am I going to be able to pull this off? You’ve let me sit without this for so long, I’m not even sure I want it anymore. And yet, this is the exact time you’ve decided I’m to do this thing? Really?” This is your chance to really have a heart-to-heart with God. Tell Him everything. It’s ok. He desires to have fellowship with us and He can take our human frailties and persnicketys! Think about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Word tells us they walked in the cool of the evening with God. That’s almost as good a picture as my river above. Well, I’m sure there were moments of bewilderment and confusion as Adam and Eve learned from God how exactly there were to take care of this burgeoning garden. God is big; He can handle our questions. He can even handle our balks!
4) Re-engage. Now I get to get on with it. I have work to do. I have to re-engage with this dream of mine and go to work to pull this off. God thinks I can do it. In those moments when I don’t have much peace about this prospect, I may have to go back to step 1 and start all over. No matter. God says I can do this and so, in spite of my misgivings at this moment, I have to work at this. I’ll continue to talk this over with Him, to get His help, to ask for His input. After all, it’s my dream!
5) Rejoice. When it’s all said and done, I will need to rest again in Him and rejoice that He helped me through it. I don’t know the outcome of this yet. That old negative side of me, the one God says is dead (my old nature who died with Jesus on the cross!), wants to raise up her head and chatter nonsense to me. No, I get to tell that old me to sit down and be quiet. I am rejoicing that my Father thinks I can do this. After all, it will be the Holy Spirit in me that is really responsible for the outcome of this thing. I get to be the willing participant and if Papa thinks I can do it, then I believe I can too.
What do you think? Can you receive His peace in the midst of the circumstances of your life? Try these five steps and see if they help. Right now I have to get on with following them myself; there’s work to be done. Blessings my friends.