>It’s alllll about the peace.

>It truly pains me to see people I know and love go through tough stuff… stuff that requires an insane amount of emotional and mental fortitude, stuff that can make or break a person, stuff that makes a person question his or her very identity and purpose in life.

Then I started thinking about peace. What is peace? Is it something we as children pray for on a magical Christmas Eve, or something the hippies wanted during ‘Nam? Is peace what you see when a baby is sleeping? (Because Lord knows that it won’t be peaceful once that baby wakes!)  Is it what we feel after a long spat with a loved one, and we finally resolve the argument? Peace in God’s terms is not confined to tie-dye, or signs that looks like a messed up pie chart.

I believe having peace is the key to having contentment in life. It keeps us from straying towards sin, or even just a wayward glance. It provides stability and satisfaction. It hopes, it fulfills, it compels us to love others.

Have you ever heard of a testimony of someone who really came from a life of addiction, lust, self-loathing, whatever, who really wishes that he or she could go back to that life? Hizell to the no. Sure, all those things provide convenient distractions and false self-esteem. They boost our pride and egos to make us think we’re invincible and don’t need God.

But then everything comes crashing down, sometimes without warning, although we usually know before we engage in certain behaviors what the outcome is going to be, and it’s not pretty. We hear the lines of “I told you so”s and it just makes us want to scream, hate ourselves, and hide in a corner. We realize what we thought would hold us up has actually been a rubble heap the whole time. We’re just adding to the pile.

The best news is that there is no peace outside of a life surrendered to Christ. It may sound counterintuitive, that a negative statement would be good, the best, news. But it is. In Christ we have everything we ever need!

Peace is about as easily understood as a woman; that is, harder to crack than a super secretive high tech code… or something. Maybe we just need something that reads invisible ink….

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

It transcends our understanding.. it’s above us, it goes beyond the limits of our understanding. That must mean it’s kind of a big deal.

Jesus Himself said, 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

We can see, though, that Jesus Himself left us with His peace. In this passage, Jesus is talking to the disciples about heaven and the Holy Spirit. He says earlier in verse 6 that the only way to heaven is through Him. Not only can we receive the free gift of eternal life (try putting a bow on that one!), but we also can have peace right now, on this earth that’s spinning into oblivious turmoil.

The world doesn’t care if our hearts are troubled; in fact, people get all kinds of attention when they’re having issues. They become popular in the limelight and show mankind doing what it does best: being human. Multiple industries capitalize on our being afraid. Scream, anyone?

I’m the nerd who still remembers most of what I learned in Momma Knight’s sophomore etymology class, so I love any excuse to delve into the origins of words. Bear with me as I divulge some info about what peace means in Greek and Hebrew. I know, two ancient languages in one sitting. Links go to the Strong’s entries.

peace (G1515) eirene

peace (H7965) shalowm

I end this post with lyrics from a popular song… “Our hearts are hungry for a food that won’t come/ And we could make a feast from these crumbs…”

Hmm… are you thinking what I’m thinking?

>Being sifted as wheat

>It’s not a fun process. It’s not easy, not painless. But it’s totally necessary. Just like Peter, we must be “sifted like wheat” in order to solidify our oneness with the Father.

The Lord doesn’t let us go through hard times to punish us, as many have been taught. He loves us, and just like a parent loves a child, He loves us with a tough love sometimes. Fortunately, His love is absolutely perfect and drives out all fear (1 John 4).

I have been convicted of unbelief in the last several months. When we don’t believe that God can do what He says He can do, we are calling Him a liar and attesting to our arrogance that we can actually do it without Him.

Truth is, we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5).

How am I being sifted? By having to be totally reliant on the Lord for my strength, joy, comfort, and peace. No human can provide all those things in perfection to me. No one can provide enough physical comfort, least of all my husband who is over 6,000 miles away. There is nothing else I can do but cast all my cares upon him (Ps. 55:22, 1 Pet. 5:7).

I feel like I am like Peter right now, telling the Lord that yes! I will never deny You! But then I deny Him every time I don’t believe that He can do “the thang” (Beth Moore speak). Just like the Lord predicts Peter’s denial, He knows that I will fail in my weakness time and time again. My perfectionism will do nothing to save me, only the grace of God that is sufficient in our weakness (1 Cor. 12:9). That verse goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Man, it’s a good thing I don’t and can’t do it on my own. Why in the world would I want my power, whatever that is, instead of Christ’s power?

I need to seek Him, to call out. “Call to me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know” (Jer. 33:3). I looked up “call” in my Hebrew dictionary and it gave synonyms such as, “cry, invite, mention, read, say, properly address by name”. It seems like a simple command, but sometimes it can be complicated to put all else aside and truly call out with fervor and humility.

In Isaiah, God asks why we spend our money and labor on things that do not satisfy (55:2). Why do we? We are filling a void. It’s much easier to be passive about life and fill our lives with things that do not satisfy than take the initiative to shut out all others and focus just on the Lord in our prayer/study time. It’s much easier to let life happen.

That verse goes on to say, “Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.” He will provide for all our needs according to His riches. HIS riches, not the world’s!

I guess this is a jumble of all the thoughts going through my mind this evening. I love it when Scripture comes together in a seamless way, and I love how I am reminded of verses throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament. I can’t always remember exactly where they are, but I know they’re there.

There is no doubt that this is a time of sifting, just like with Peter. There is obviously something great that the Lord has planned for me and my husband, and it will go beyond anything I could ever imagine for myself. Whatever it is, I knew it would take preparation and maturity.

There is pain in the offering, but it’s an offering. I’m not hiding my difficulty or emotions, or hoarding whatever strength I can claim as my own.

It’s all laid at the foot of the cross, exactly where it should be. In the end, I will know what it is to call out to God, to listen, to live by His precepts, and to truly find His strength in my weakness.