John 14:27 (NKJV)
I Corinthians 10:13 (NAMBE)
Revelation 5:8 (NKJV)
After half a lifetime of hearing about God’s peace from my dad, I finally ‘get’ what all the hoopla is about. Of course, it also took years of aging and wisdom from God. Today when I wake, I listen and watch for the Spirit of peace.
Jesus promises peace in John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I’ve talked about the Irish and the ‘thin space’ between heaven and earth. This morning, before I opened my eyes, the peace of God flooded my soul. God’s peace has become a ‘thing’ with me. I’ve prayed that God will flood my soul with His peace. That is a prayer that will be answered 100% of the time.
However, there is a psychological component at play when seeking peace. Just like you, I’ve had turbulent years when I didn’t experience peace when I woke up. I had to learn to pull back the layers of anxiety and pain. I had to deal with the turmoil. It may not be the same for everyone, and because of my experiences, I had a few rounds of counseling and ten years of Spiritual Direction. I needed to learn how to recognize and quiet the painful voices in my head that kept reminding me of the pain of the past.
I found that I first needed to identify the source of the pain. I had spent years ignoring it and pushing it down deep into my subconscious mind. Because I had ignored it, I had to peel back the layers and deal with each as it emerged. I can see now that God was ever so gracious about helping me cope with the pain. God only gave me as much as I could handle. Because of that, it took time. I am grateful I lived in a metro area that had good counselors and a qualified Spiritual Director. My Spiritual Director was a Catholic Priest and he was well-trained. He was able to spot my secret hiding places I would run to.
See, every person when faced with difficult situations has a tendency to stand and fight or to run. I am a runner. I ran from my issues long enough that running became normal. Looking back, I thought I was doing it to save the life I knew and my marriage. Now I can see that I was running from the truth.
During those years, God was faithful to guide me to a place where I could deal with my pain. I’m not sure if I was fully aware of how much God was working on my behalf. God stood in the gap for me. God held onto me and gently guided me toward healing.
The good news is that God is FULL of grace and mercy. He is patient and kind. As God held onto me during those years, and He gradually brought me to a place where I could be healed. The healing wasn’t an ultimate healing because we receive that when we enter heaven, but each time I pulled back another layer, I was able to deal with what I was running from.
As each layer became apparent and old issues emerged, God slowly helped me to deal with the pain that caused me to run. I learned to watch and listen for where God was at work on my behalf.
God also gave me time between layers. Once I pulled back a layer and received healing from that layer, I experienced great peace.
Each time I thought maybe I’d pulled back all of the layers, but that took time. That’s because God is patient with us and does not give us more than we can handle.
I Corinthians 10:13 says, “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.”
The trial is different for every person. Many translations refer to the trial as a temptation. The Greek word is peirasmos and it can be translated as a trial, a temptation, or an experiment. Most of the time the trial is not what God brings to us. It is what lies deep within ourselves that God allows us to deal with. It is part of our humanity. There is an old saying, “we do the best we can do with what we know at the time”. The human difficulties we face do ‘try’ us. God knows we are human. We have the right to choose. I chose to run from my trial for a time, but God held onto me and helped me to be strong enough to face healing.
When we look at the gift of ultimate healing, we face the greatest challenge yet. For one reason or another, our earthly bodies give up and God gives us a new heavenly body. When that happens we are in the place of perfect peace and love. Death is not the end. By turning to God, even ever so slightly, we will be instantly transformed. We will have perfect peace.
I think that’s one thing Jesus was talking about in John 14:27. He was saying, don’t be troubled or afraid...take MY peace. Pray and wait for peace.
When my dad was dying I know he prayed for us. He prayed sacred prayers for my Mom, his kids, and his grand children and their children. God is still answering those prayers today. I’ve written about the Golden Bowl in heaven that John wrote about in Revelation 5:8, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
Every prayer my dad spoke or thought went into that bowl. I know my dad listened to the Spirit so he would see our future and specifically ask God to supply our needs. I believe he watched and listened.
I’ve learned that while general prayers are good and honorable, specific prayers get to the heart of the matter. I am learning how to pray specific prayers. I do not have the gift of writing out long specific prayers. I know that because I’ve read beautiful prayers some people have written. I’m learning to listen to God as I pray and to be specific. Each prayer goes into the golden bowl and becomes incense that flows into the nostrils of God continuously. They never burn up and God never forgets our prayers.
Listen to the Spirit as you pray. Listen and watch. Every prayer matters. They are eternal.
They never burn up.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Pray
Watch for where God is at work and specifically listen so you will know what to pray for. Or if you have the gift of writing specific prayers, write a prayer as you listen.
In God, Deborah