Posted by: Maggie | October 2, 2007

Peace

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Picture from our 15th Wedding Anniversary Trip 7/07

This week, our challenge has been to meditate on joy and peace at The 10 Week Challenge over at The Warrior’s Journey. 

The devotions are great every day.  I’m so challenged I hardly know where to begin some days.  It’s sort of like MasterLife in some ways…just hit it ALL…HARD!

However, on peace and joy this week, I have to admit that lately, and often, I find myself caught between a head and heart issue, which is VERY MUCH like being stuck between a rock and a hard place! 

What I mean is:  in my head, I agree with everything that is said and I do ABSOLUTELY experience a deep and abiding peace and joy that nothing can take away and no man can understand who does not know Christ.  But, in my heart, I often have this underlying trust issue keeping me from experiencing what is mine.  I suppose that when the stresses go on for weeks and months at a time…it wears on the best of us to some degree.

All the while, I know my God to deliver and follow through–he always does!  Do I think that it is my stress and carrying on that causes him to pay attention to me?   This was the case in the Old Testament.  God heard the many cries of the people and their distress, he came down to check it out, and he offered relief. 

That concept is “Biblical”, however…New Testament life, Christ lives and dwells in me!  I AM his daughter!  I don’t have to “get his attention”…I have it!  He hears!  He is right there!  Literally IN ME…ALL the time!  Ever-present, hanging on my every word, hearing every single heartbeat, every sigh, every thought, every desire, every prayer.  He hears it before I do!  He knows it more deeply than I do.  He is in control…when I don’t have to be.  

My worry doesn’t honor him as Lord!   And it kills me!

I have to confess my lack of real trust.   He SO so surpasses me and my understanding that I do not even have the capacity to know how to worry effectively if I wanted to! 

I call it “normal stress and strain.  True, the body can only handle so much, bit overall, if I REALLY trusted him, I’d have fewer back problems, strained expressions and short tempers!  I want that!  

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  

I do not give to you as the world gives. 

Do not let your hearts be troubled and

do not be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

His part…he gives us peace. 

My part…I trust him, rejecting fear and worry as evidences of my whole-hearted trust.

Overall, I probably get like a B- in this area right now.  I hope my grade improves.  I have no doubt there will be other tests, hopefully they will “pull up my average”.  In the OT, it was pass or fail.  “Okay, so you’ve been without water for three days…stop complaining and trust me!”  I don’t have that kind of trust…that the water will come, the trust he requires of us.  That “non-whine, pass-the-test” kind of trust I want and need.  But, He is working on me, and I’m a work in process.  We’ll get there, I’m sure.

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete to the day of His coming.”  (Philippinans, I think…NT)

Signing off,

Maggie

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Responses

  1. As I was reading this, I was burdened for several big needs in my life. Not necessarily mine or my kids, but those I care about. I told the Lord that it is hard to walk with those grievances, and he reminded me that I had spoken to my child a few days ago over him taking responsibility for things he can’t control…I think God said that his mom(me) does the same thing! To trust that God IS handling it.

    To think about the boat and the storm story, Jesus said “we are going to the other side”. It was not the disciples responsibility to get them there. It was Jesus’…Perhaps the disciples should have been sleeping, because they would need the rest…Obviously Jesus knew they would not be able to rest in the storm, but he rebuked them, why?

    I know Jesus is compassionate. I am sure they were blown away by what He did.

    Don’t you think that later on when the disciples had been told to go the uttermost parts of the world and preach the gospel, when they were being thrown in jail, and murdered, and riots happened, that they would remember this event? To “get to the other side”, and not be distracted by all the big storms?

    To keep doing what Jesus had told them to do, and not be distracted?

    I wonder if they would have been able to do that if Jesus had woken, and affirmed their fears, and apologized for sleeping…rather, they learned a serious lesson in “when God says “Go”, to go, and not to stop, no matter what is going crazy around you.” To trust that God is handling all this other stuff, we need only to obey?

    Just some thoughts…

  2. Good thoughts, CAD. Always great to hear from you, girlfriend.

    It is a profound story. I had to hear from my Lord, “You Wuss”, but there are times I need to hear it! It is his most merciful word to me.

    On the other hand, today after I wrote this, God reminded me that Jesus himself sweat drops of blood in a real effort of prayer, praying through what God asked him to do…and he was even “short” with his prayer warriors, so to speak! (Thank you, Lord God, for your comfort and understanding!)

    Even Jesus didn’t seem walk along, gently, self controlled, able to “handle it all”, walking as though nothing was a struggle. That ministered to me also.

    I’m not sure what the balance between struggle and peace/joy is. I do know that I’ve kept going in this time, as best as I could. And God commends that. I’m not proud of the energy the issues took. And I’m not proud of the fatigue on my physical self. Ugh!

    Yes, waiting is HARD WORK, if it weren’t so hard, I don’t think we would have verses like “though it linger, wait for it”. The wait is a struggle.

    Both ends of this spectrum are so true…and to be honest, hemming them together in my mind is taking nothing less than the precious grace only the Father can give. Totally.

  3. I think God is only harsh with us when there is a specific danger in letting us be “soft” on it. Like you said, Jesus is way, way compassionate. But the disciples questioned Jesus’s love for them. They were believing a lie. Jesus nipped it in the bud!The waiting can be very uncomfortable (I am sure some of the disciples were hurling)…but you get through it easier when your mind is dwelling on TRUTH. Waiting is WORK, especially if you do it right. There is always the temptation to believe WRONG things about God. You have to constantly take “every thought captive” and speak truth by faith, because the situation DOES NOT look good.

    I love the verse God gave you about Jesus. He doesn’t want us to think we are failing, when the job is just a tough (really tough) job.

    Why did you give yourself a B- ? I love how you break everything down into small parts for us to mull over. Love you, my friend!

  4. Carol, you are my lifeline some days, I’ll tell you.

    First, I love the way you were able to take those stories back into context for me to explain the difference in God’s response to us. Much like in the way I respond to my own kids. If they are believing a lie about my love for them…I’d want to fix that. But, if they are just reasonably tired from a long day…I give them a nap and put them to bed.

    I think I gave myself a B- because I ended up spaced out, not able to handle any more bads news, totally overwhelmed, maxed out, and paralyzed from so much hitting me in a few week time period.

    Actually, mentors were sympahtizing, not pushing.

    I guess after it’s over, I just think to myself, “If I’d handled that better, I wouldn’t have had that back tension, and been so…on edge with everything ‘life’.

    On the other hand, I know I’ve counseled you before that it’s okay to be where you are and say, “Ouch!” when life hurts.

    I guess, sort of wondering if I were tested again, how I might possibly handle it with more…tenacity and courage and less emotion.

    Emotion is good! Realness is good! Authentic response is good! I just think that here…the overwhelmed part isn’t where I need to be next time. Because knowing how it all turned out? God was in control of every single part. My overwhelmedness was a rooted in feelings of distrust.

    So, I feel like it was a test, and my score indicates to me what God told me we were going to work on my trust level this year. He proves himself faithful. Every. Time.

    I just want to bow my head and worship and repent. And…I know that is enough.

  5. I am tired and it’s been a long day, so no deep thoughts. I just wanted to say that anyone trying as hard as you are, definitely gets higher than a B-

    Maggie replies: Thanks, Stacey.
    I think I was feeling a bit hard on myself, and repentant at the time…only God knows our grade, and fortunately, his grace is always the same: grace and mercy and favor and blessing to the heart turned toward Him, soft toward Him. Praise His name!

    I thought of the words to an older Larnelle Harris song I love when I read your comment, it runs through my mind often:

    “It’s not in trying, but in trusting
    not in running, but in resting
    not in wondering, but in praying
    that we find the strength of the Lord.”

    That’s just where I want to be.
    But, even still, so great to know he is happy with me both where I am, where He’s leading. I love him for that. To be completely truthful, anything less than a good challenge and I’d probably not be game. (How crazy a girl I am.)

  6. what a humble servant and faithful follower you are!! I am inspired and encouraged. your walk is so sweet and gentle just like your personality!! I know He is so pleased with you!!! You are covered with the favor – I could see it all over you in Nashville!!

    Love, Leigh


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