the answer comes with peace

Posted: February 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

I was struggling with a difficult decision – whether or not to sever my relationship with a group of people who were central in my life.  Issues had come up that felt like deal-breakers to me, and I had been asking God over and over, “Can I leave?  I want to leave!”  Far enough along in my faith to know that what God wanted would be a better barometer than what I felt, I hadn’t yet left.  But the desire to leave flooded my thoughts continually.  I kept discovering new information that seemed to confirm my bias.  I wanted to leave.  I NEEDED to leave.  Why should I stay in this morass of people heading in the wrong direction?

In the midst of it, I tried to force the answer from God by announcing resolutely to a trusted spiritual adviser that my mind was made up:  I was leaving.  “Do you have peace about that answer?” he asked.  “If the answer is from God, it will come with peace.”

The question and the commentary made me crazy.  Peace?!  How could a person have peace in the midst of controversy?  Some situations are just hard and have to be navigated with difficulty.  I said as much to him.

“I didn’t say it would be easy or pleasant,” he pushed back.  “I said God gives peace with an answer.  Look for peace, and that’s where you’ll find the answer God has for you.”

I didn’t want to wait for peace.  I didn’t see how it could be possible to arrive at peace with so much going so wrong. I needed to leave, but the process was going to be ugly and painful – how could there be peace in that?  I didn’t feel like my spiritual adviser knew what he was talking about.  Still, counsel to basically “trust God” couldn’t be wrong.  Though I didn’t understand the advice and wasn’t sure I was even capable of finding this thing on which he was so sure I had to wait, I gave it a try.  I worked on being still, and not struggling against what was making me crazy.  I tried to listen for God.

Soon enough, the peace came, and then I understood.  No, it wasn’t going to be easy or pleasant, but there was absolute peace, and it was something I couldn’t have manufactured if my life had depended upon it.  Finding the peace and hearing my release, I left the same day.

That “training” helped me many years later when I was praying about leaving a place I DID NOT want to leave – the place I had hoped to spend the rest of my days.  This was an altogether different situation, and I couldn’t even ask God what His thoughts were for weeks, for fear that He would tell me that yes, it was time to go.  Once again, the answer came wrapped up in peace.  In the earlier instance, I had gotten what I wanted, despite how hard some of the fallout had been.  In this instance, the answer was the opposite of what I wanted, but again, the peace was there.  I made my decision that same day.

The “me” part of this equation was highly imperfect throughout.  In that first instance, God would show me a few years later that the reason I’d been released to leave was because I had rendered myself useless in that community by my thoughts and attitudes, even though at the time I had believed the release was because I was “better than” the mess I was walking out of.  In the second instance, the leaving had felt a lot like dying in some ways, so great was my grief at God’s change in my plans, but by this point I’m very clear that He was doing really good stuff in my life – growing me into something closer to the fullness of what He created me to be.  He was answering my prayers in ways far surpassing my limited imagination and fearful doubts.

Isn’t it great that God is good even and especially where we are small and confused and prone to stumble?  I’m looking at that “peace” equation again these days.  No, I’m not pondering leaving anywhere or anything at all.  I’m just getting tired of dreaming all night, almost every night, that I am working fruitlessly to save the world from developments that trouble me throughout my waking hours – the deluge of frightening-to-me developments that continue to happen on the national/international front.  I know that God calls us to stand for what is right and that battling evil is never going to be easy or fun, but I am being reminded that what He calls me to also contains peace.  So I’m looking for the peace.  The answer is there.  When I find it, I believe I’ll be able to stop fighting fruitlessly in my dreams, and just do the real stuff set before me.

I don’t know how to find it, but He knows how to get me there.  That’s enough answer for now.

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Comments
  1. Laurie Berthel says:

    Try listening to TrailHead church Edwardsville sermon from last Sunday 2/12/17.

    Addressed the political climate. Humility before passion.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this if you listen

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  2. Laurie Berthel says:

    Try listening to TrailHead church Edwardsville sermon from last Sunday 2/12/17.

    Addressed the political climate. Humility before passion.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this if you listen

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

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