Seeking the Experience of Peace
Have you found the everlasting experience of peace this summer? The great anticipation of summer seems to simultaneously give ideas of vacations and with that the end desire of the everlasting experience of peace. As we enter August and the return of schools getting back into session, did your summer of fun give the calming experience of peace? Are you filled with the beautifulÂ experience of peace now or did it fade with the end of your vacation?
A quick Google search on how to experience or find peace will give you about 635,000,000 choices to explore. But will those choices lead you to experience everlasting and true peace Â or are they just temporary fixes of bliss that do not hold firm in a crisis? As I reviewed some suggestions that promised me peace if I would just follow their advice, what I saw was a list of things that might hold up during a non-crisis moment, but in the midst of a true and potential anxiety riddled situation, would not provide much; if any comfort.
The suggestions ran from shutting out the afflicted thought, listening to music, smell something nice, sit relaxed, forget about it, or picture a long winding river. Now all of these suggestions to experience peace sound nice if I am already in a pretty good situation, but if I am not, then I need a different plan. Perhaps what I need is some help to move the thing that is obstructing my way and preventing me from the everlasting experience of peace.
Kyle Idleman, a California pastor, illustrates the need for help when facing big obstacles in his book, Not a Fan. Idleman discusses a physical move in which he saved the heaviest piece of furniture for last, the desk from his office. As he was pushing and pulling the heavy desk with all his might, his young four-year old son came over and asked if he could help. So together they started sliding it across the floor. His little boy was pushing and grunting as they inched their way along. But after a few minutes, he stopped pushing, looked up at his dad, and said, ”Dad you’re in my way.” So Idleman stepped to the side and watched as his son tried to push the desk all by himself. Of course it didn’t budge.
How often do we attempt to take things into our own hands with our Heavenly Father, attempting to push God to the side to ”fix” our own issues because His time isn’t working for us? We essentially tell God, ”You’re in my way” and then when we don’t solve the issue, we wonder why we are so full of stress and anxiety. All we wanted was to experience peace but yet we find we are getting nowhere.
If we want to experience peace, then it is not Google that we need to place our trust for the answers in, but God. For the way to experience true and everlasting peace is by trusting and placing our full faith in God. God then becomes our focus as we allow Him to be in full control.
This week’s focus verse is about the way to experience God’s peace, but to get there we must look to the verse before it. Paul clearly tells us in Philippians 4:6 not to worry about anything and instead pray about everything. We must tell God what we need, as we thank him for what he has done. When we follow these steps consistently and with full faith, we will experience the everlasting peace provided by the Holy Spirit. It is his peace that will protect our minds from worry and anxiety, as we move through problems or just life.
True peace can only be experienced in full, when we give it all up to God, and place our full life in His hands; instead of the problems and disgruntled issues of life. He doesn’t make the problems disappear nor does He suggest that we ignore they are there and do nothing. But when our trust becomes fully centered on God and His control; we will experience the peace of knowing that God’s plan will ultimately succeed.
Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NLT)
Finding the Experience of Peace
The world’s idea of peace is much different from God’s peace. The world’s definition of peace is to be without disturbance or conflict, but God’ peace is a peace that is much deeper and lasting. God’s peace is the very confident assurance that God is in control in all circumstances. God’s peace allows us to move forward despite the disturbances or conflicts that may surround us. Real peace is created only by God and maintained through our faith. It is our faith that allows us to place our focus on God and give full control to Him.
In order for you to experience the peace of God, you must first seek it through deep and true prayer. It is to recognize, that when you feel anxiety coming on to immediately seek God. If you will place your problems and feeling of woe with God first, giving Him your problems or issues then you will end with His peace. If you want everlasting peace you must create it by praying first. Prayer is the first line of defense when you want to experience peace.
Sometimes it may seem difficult for you to give up the worry or anxiety for fear that no peace will come, however there is no peace found in worry or anxiety. You have to give up control by giving complete control to God, trusting that He will provide the peace through your faith.
This is not to say you sit by after prayer and allow the world to crumble around you. God gave you a brain and resources to use and He fully expects you to use them. Tim Hansel illustrates this in a real life story he recounts in his book, Holy Sweat. During his late twenties, he and a group of friends decided to sail around the world. He admits that he was more than a bit worried, mostly because he had never sailed before. He was uneasy and anxious. He spent a lot of time reading the Bible and praying about it, until one day it dawned on him that God was whispering, ”Tim, I’ll give you peace if you read some books on sailing. The reason you’re anxious is not due to lack of prayer, but to your lack of sailing knowledge.” He wasn’t un-prayerful: he was unskilled. He decided that he must take the step needed to allow God to work His peace in his heart. So Tim began to read about sailing.
As I speak about real everlasting peace, I am speaking from real life experience. I parent, a now, adult child, with a disability. If you or anyone you know has any type of responsibility relationship with people who have disabilities, then you know that there are challenges on many levels, and those with faith do a lot of praying. Praying alone though, isn’t the key to peace, even praying and researching the latest trends to help the disable, will not give full peace.
This week, I realized in the midst of yet another potential crisis issue, that in order for me to experience true peace; I had to give total control to God. I had to realize that I could not control the situation and my somewhat helicopter parent syndrome had to end, as it was solving nothing, and creating a great amount of stress and anxiety to me. I prayed as I moved into the situation, but this time I prayed differently. I prayed, telling God, that I was giving this totally to Him and it would be Him, that would lend me the words to say and the reaction to show. I can attest today, that I went into this situation without knowing what was going on, but I knew that God would provide what I needed at the right time, and He did.
The situation resolved somewhat positively, but the beauty was that in the situation, I was no longer anxious or peppered with stress. I was able to speak calmly to both my child and those involved. I knew that no matter the outcome, God would prevail as He needed to for His will to shine. Giving up the control on this stress was the best thing that I have ever done. I urge you to find everlasting peace in your life by following just three steps.
- Pray ”“ Pray not only for your life and the situations and issues within it, but pray that God will help strengthen your faith, and allow you to give up total control to Him
- Think ”“ Do not sit idly by expecting the answers to fall from the sky; God expects us to use the brains He gave us to do good things. He didn’t place us here on earth to perish, but to learn. So learn to help solve problems with God’s help.
- Give ”“ Give it all to God. Allow Him to take total control and know with full confidence that you are working with God and He is working through you to accomplish His plan and will. Give God the control and let Him take the burden and take over.
When you follow these very simple steps you will know with full confidence that you have done all you can do. The problem may still exist, but in the midst of the problem you will experience the true peace of God, because the true peace of God is in knowing that God is in control and we are never alone.
Love in Christ,
The peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
Credits: Idleman, Not a Fan, Zondervan, 2011, pp. 96-97. Tim Hansel,Â Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 63.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Have you experienced the true peace of God? Do you find yourself struggling to give God control of your life and problems? Perhaps you have a story to share about recognizing the true peace of God. Join us in discussion on the everlasting experience of true peace found only with God.