Peace. Searching for real peace has taken up a major portion of my life. Even after I became a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I did not soon learn true rest and peace. Despite a dramatic conversion, sinful fits of anger, selfishness, impatience, pride and discontentment continued to control me. A saved, yet habitually sinful condition was miserable. I craved His peace.
Our first grade primer, which is Amish, has an intriguing line, “When we obey, we are happy. When we disobey, we are sad.” As a rebellious unbeliever, I was terminally sad; as a rebellious Christian, my sadness continued. I have had ‘issues.’ I have made mistakes. I have made wrong choices and bad decisions. Jesus Christ did not die for any of those--He died for my sins.
Grieving over sin, repenting and asking for forgiveness was the impetus for my spiritual birth. I knew that. What I did not know was that instead of resisting the myriad of difficulties in my life, I must trust God enough to accept them.
Any response other than acceptance of trial is also sin.
Instead of blaming others or God for troubles, I have finally learned to rejoice during trials of inconvenience, frustration and disability. Ranting and raving is hardly ever fun anymore. I know too much. I love Him too much. Dispassionately, I am learning to watch my own impossible situations, almost as an observer, and rejoice as God moves without my interference.
Sometimes the Lord has changed my circumstances, but most often, He has radically changed my heart during these struggles. Suddenly, I am able to love people that used to irritate me. Suddenly, my mind is not imagining revenge, but forgiveness for those that have caused offense. Suddenly, I understand what Paul meant when he wrote,
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet, not I, but
Christ lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
Mysteriously being dead and yet alive is a great, grand paradox; it is worth giving up what we think we have to have, in order to gain His pleasure and our freedom. We have fears that we will never be happy without making our own choices; truly there is no happiness at all in satisfying our flesh, only sorrow. Wellsprings of joy are released when I completely surrender to the Father’s hand. Therein is the secret that brings precious calm. Therein is that blessed, long-awaited wisdom.