The world promises peace to us, but only God really can provide it. Whatever nanosecond of restfulness or relief the world offers is fragile, elusive, and circumstantial. It is also self-maintained: we must constantly find it, produce it, and keep it going, which causes us to work against that which we seek. But perhaps the worst truth about the world’s version of peace is that it is futile; it is no more than a mirage.
It’s hardly this way with God. Jesus said of divine peace, “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).The rest God gives is abiding. It’s eternal. It sits far below our circumstances and heals us from the inside out. What’s more, it is Spirit maintained: he produces it, he provides it, he perpetuates it in our lives.
Here’s the goal I ought to be working toward: a calm and quiet soul. This is what it says in Psalm 131: “My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content” (vv. 1-2).
When work stress mounts, we can have a calm and quiet soul.
When a spouse admits an affair, we can have a calm and quiet soul.
When a teenager rebels, we can have a calm and quiet soul.
When any of these (and a thousand other) things happen, we can calm and quiet our souls. Not inebriate and numb ourselves. Not distract and busy ourselves. Not ignore the needs of our heart and cast aside the state of our soul. No, we can actually calm and quiet ourselves, even when circumstances go south really fast. We can be as content as a baby at his momma’s breast. We do this by slowing down and looking up. We do this by simply being with God.
This is a short excerpt from the raw manuscript of my fourth book. I am still working on a title. The book releases Summer 2014.
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