Peace, the World, and My Sweaty Pits
I worry. And when I say worry, I mean I can be absolutely anxiety ridden with the best of them. I get sweaty pits, increased heart rate, and mental and emotional gymnastics that can keep me up at night. There are times where I want to crawl down into a bunker and just hide it out. Those moments feel like storms, and I just want them to magically blow away. I want them to be over. Chances are you have been there too, at times – overwhelmed, and feeling like you’re suffocating because of the current situation at hand.
You want a list of what currently worries me? If not, too bad, because I’ve already suckered you into reading this!
- Purchasing property
- Growing numerically and growing financially
Our Staff (including our volunteers)
- Will they stick around or will they burn out?
- Will they do the hard work even when it feels or actually is thankless?
- Will the elders and deacons hang in there even after seasons of deep waters?
- People with cancer
- People in tough marriages
- People who so desperately want to have children or to get married
- People going through or gone through a divorce
- People who don’t seem to care about loving Jesus
- People who don’t feel like they need to help out
- That my wife will never feel second place to the church
- That my son will never love Jesus more than his iPad or sports
- That daughter will love the world instead of continuing to grow in grace
- That I am not meeting everyone’s spoken or unspoken expectations
- That I am not the biblical leader as laid out in Scripture and longed for by my wife
- That my preaching is just reaching the mind but not the hearts of my congregations
- That I will burn out
- The nutty political scene
- IS (Islamic State)
These are just the big ones. I could make a list of much less important things, but you catch the drift. When I worry about these things, I get distracted. I neglect being present with people who are right in front of me. I get lost in thinking about rabbit trails (and trust me… there are millions of rabbit trails to follow). I start feeling isolated and eventually close up. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there right now. I found something this week that brought relief. Today, I found myself in John 14. One verse came glaring off the pages. I have read it hundreds of times before and this time it was loud in my soul. It was like a resonating gong that could be felt for an extended amount of time.
Here it is.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
I don’t know about you, but that verse does something within me. It brings hope to hear the Creator of the earth tell you, tell me, tell us all that He gives peace. The most striking part was the statement that His peace is so radical compared to what the world gives. I tried to imagine how the world gives peace. The world would say keep to yourself and avoid healthy conflict. Protect yourself they’d tell me. The world would say if you wrong me, I can wrong you back. The world would say “to each their own” and “may survival of the fittest win.” The world tells me if I’m unhappy in my marriage it’s not my fault, I have irreconcilable differences. Make yourself happy then you will have peace.
But not Jesus.
He gives us supernatural peace. The kind of peace that Jesus offers is nothing like what the world offers. His peace is loving. It’s kind. It’s patient. It’s long-suffering. It goes beyond understanding. His peace settles my spirit. It stops my mind from spinning and brings perspective. When I’m focused on Christ; I experience the peace that only He brings. It is not swayed by my circumstances. This peace or harmony doesn’t change the experiences in my life, but it changes me and how I engage in them.
My prayer for you today, is that you will experience the peace Jesus talks about in John. Embrace it. Take it in to the deepest parts of who you are. Let it cover the core of you; your heart and your mind. When we allow the peace that Jesus gives to penetrate our heart we can face whatever is in front of us.
Image Credit: Children At Risk Foundation - Brazil