And I am tired of it.
I want peace in my heart. Not the peace that normal test results give me...I want the peace that stays with me forever, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of my condition, regardless of my surroundings. I want the kind of peace that flows like a river. I want the peace that stays in spite of the tribulations, as Jesus promised (John 16: 33).
The thing I have to remember, though, is that the key to this peace lies entirely on Him... "for He Himself is our peace..."(Ephesians 2: 14). He is the One who has overcome the world. He is the One who has fulfilled the law. He is the One, the Only One who gives peace in an enduring manner, not like the world gives. Without Him, there is no peace. Peace is a Person!
Peace, therefore, doesn't happen in isolation. It's part of a process designed by grace and strengthened by love. And this process revolves around the Person of Jesus. The way I see it, the process begins with knowledge. Who do you say that I am? (Mark 8: 29) Do we have an answer to this question? Do we know who He is? Do we know who Jesus is in our heart?
To know Him is to Trust Him. That seems like the next step. If we don't trust Him, it might have something to do with the fact that we might not know Him well yet. Faulty trust might signal a weak relationship with Christ. I say this because this is where I am right now. My trust shakes with every shift in the wind. And I believe it is because I am still wrestling with the answer to the question above: Who is This Man that the winds and the waves obey? Is He truly my Lord? Do I spend the necessary time getting to know Him in the Word? Do I invest my thoughts in getting to know Him better? Do I value my relationship with Jesus enough to devote my heart to Him?
I know I will never know all that there is to be known about My Lord...but I'm called to sit at His feet...do I do it? Do I seek Him first? Am I in the habit of choosing Him above all else, or do I choose the world instead?
To know Christ is to Trust Him, for we trust whom we know. If I truly knew Him, I would know that He who promised is Faithful and that His love for me is real, for His banner over me is Love. (Hebrews 10: 23; Song of Solomon 2: 4) Therefore, I would not have so much trouble surrendering to Him. I struggle with surrender. In marriage, I have a hard time adhering my will to the will of my husband. But I know Dan, and I have no doubts about his good will and his love for me and our family. I have invested more than half of my life getting to know that man. Therefore, I trust him and I eventually do surrender to him for I trust his leadership.
But surrendering also implies letting go. The burdens that we carry are too heavy. We were not made to drag around such weight. The tight grip we keep on our issues shows a tendency to desire control. Letting go means relinquishing all control. This is a rather scary proposition for those, like me, who crave the power of controlling our destinies. I don't want to let go because I don't know what will happen next if I do...and I don't like the unknown. But I'm called to be still and know that He is God! (Psalm 46: 10)
That is why our capacity of letting go is fueled by our faith. Most of the times that Jesus rebuked someone, mainly His disciples, was because they were exhibiting little faith. I believe, He was persistent on His "you of little faith, why are you so afraid?" stance particularly with his disciples precisely because they were His disciples! They were the humans who knew Him best! Why did they insist in doubting? Why did they have such a hard time trusting and surrendering? I think it is because, like me...or me like them...we still have more road to walk with Him...still have more polishing of our faith to be done...still have more fruits of the Spirit to grow and bloom in our souls...still have more sifting to go through. Like Peter, I am so quick to talk, but so slow to comprehend. It usually takes an extra measure of tribulation for me to get the lesson...sigh...
But, not unlike Peter, as I let go in faith I find a path to forgiveness. Once again, if you are anything like me...I have some hurts in my heart that I have not yet allowed the soothing balm of forgiveness to healed 100%. Sometimes I feel as if I'm almost there, but then, something happens, and the wound opens up again. At that time, I see the reality of unforgiveness...I see also that one of those things I have the most trouble forgiving is myself. I am my harshest judge. There is nothing anyone could ever blame me for that I hadn't blamed myself for before. I'm my worst critic and I'm my hardest accuser. That is why peace seems so elusive...because forgiveness, of others and of ourselves, moves us closer to peace.
The peace I'm seeking involves accepting that Jesus died on the cross to cleanse me...to forgive me. And if I confess my sins, He is Faithful and Just and Merciful to forgive me and purify me from my unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9)...even me...Therefore, who am I then to hang on to unforgiveness?
However, how do I ever accomplish all these steps??? I'm so flawed and my resolve is so fickle...how in the world could I do this process? Before I become even more stressed out...I need to pause...and pray...Peace is a Person and His name is Jesus!
Prayer is the first step...coming to His Throne in humility and keeping the communication is how we could ever begin to attempt this quest...
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)
These steps seem more like the links of a chain than a lineal process. As ironic as it may sound, these links shape the chain that frees us! Together, they form an unbreakable circle of mercy and grace that marks us and sets us apart as the beloved children of the Most High. These are the links that connect us to Jesus: prayer, knowledge, trust, surrender, forgiveness and peace... may we not break it, but live within it, meditate in it and dwell in His presence, the overpowering force that forges and sustains our connection...our relationship...our chain of peace.