the struggle is real, so is God

Peace be with you

The other day, Alayna was having a particularly stressful day (as stressful as a nine year old can have). She really just needed some time to relax. She went into the bathroom, closed the door, and started the bath water. Unfortunately, her brothers didn’t get the memo – they barged into the bathroom. After being yelled at to get out, they continued to play in the hallway – far too noisy and distracting for a relaxing bath. She came out upset because it wasn’t relaxing. Inside, I was laughing at her nine-year-old problems. However, I know the feeling. That search for rest, relaxation, and peace is a struggle as an adult, too. There have been so many times when I’ve wished for just a few minutes of quiet, a few minutes of peace.

As I began to read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, his opening greeting really stuck out to me. In verse 2, he writes “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a common phrase from Paul; we read it every time we read one of his letters, and some church services include it as part of their greeting. The part that hit me is the preposition from. (Yes, I’m letting the inner grammar nerd out here, but even if you don’t know a preposition from an adverb, you’ll get the message). Paul doesn’t just wish his friends peace; he wishes them peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Where does the peace come from? God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. We tend to get confused about the source of peace, though. Google tells us that peace means “freedom from disturbance; mental calm; freedom from war.” The world tells us we can find peace in solitude, remote destinations, or by loving everyone and tolerating even immoral behavior. Really? If we are confined to the world’s definition of peace, it is simply unattainable. When’s the last time you have been completely free from disturbance? Experienced mental calm? Not heard a segment about fighting, war, or dispute on the news? If you live in the real world, I’m guessing those moments have been few and far between; a life of peace is impossible by the world’s standards. (In fact, as I sat down to write this post, hoping for some peaceful moments, I was interrupted by a bike tire needing aired up, my cell phone going off, a request to comment on the latest art project, and a three year old begging for candy at 8:00 in the morning, not to mention the long list of things running through my head that I “should” be doing instead of sitting at my computer. Peace and quiet in a home with four kids – nearly impossible.) But, peace doesn’t come from a relaxing bath, quiet moments, or standing on a mountain top or sandy beach. The Bible has a different view of peace, and for that I am so grateful. The Bible tells us that peace does not come from being happy with everyone, or quietness without interruption, or freedom from disputes. The Bible tells us that peace comes from God. Later in his letter to the Philippians, Paul reinforces this idea. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Before we can find the peace of God, we must do as verse six says. We must take everything to the Lord with prayer and petition; we must submit to his will for our lives; we must act on what he calls us to do even when it is uncomfortable and hard. It is only then that we find the peace of God, a peace that only comes from God. This peace changes everything! I know because I feel it. When I think about the upcoming year and my responsibilities (mom of four, principal’s wife, part-time teacher, owner and only employee of Divine Dishes), by the world’s standards, I will never feel peace because there will be no moments without distraction. But when I think about the upcoming year and the fact that I believe I’m exactly where God wants me, I feel peace. Will there still be craziness, stress, and frustrations? Yes, yes, and yes! When that stress starts to build and I begin to feel anxious about all that I have going on, I remind myself to present my requests to God, and pray for the peace that comes only from him. When you are truly in God’s will, even with earthly chaos and struggles surrounding you, you can feel peace. A peace from God, trusting that he is in control and has your best interest in his plans – an eternal interest. A peace that will last through all eternity because you have put your faith, hope, and trust in the God of salvation who sent his son as a sacrifice to save you from your sins.

 

Prayer:

Lord, I am so grateful for the peace that comes from you. I pray that others come to find this peace by accepting you as their personal savior and submitting to your will for their lives. I praise you, Lord, for bringing that peace into my life. I pray that you send your Spirit to remind me to present my requests to you and help me remain in your will. Thank you for the assurance of salvation and the promise of everlasting peace in heaven because I have put my trust in you.

Amen

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