"Ah, come in Danny. Thanks for coming at such short notice.” Danny was one of the pillars of our twenties plus youth group.
"Hi, Pastor Michael," he said as he sat on the sofa.
"Do you know why I asked you to see me today, Danny?"
"I can guess."
"Your fiance rang me this morning. She is rather distressed - said you broke off the engagement by e-mail and won’t take her calls. Is this true?" I said gently.
Danny looked down, "Ah, yes. God told me to break off the engagement and it was the hardest thing I've ever done."
I was surprised, "God told you to do this?"
"Yes." Danny replied with conviction.
"How did He tell you this?"
"The same way He always talks to me when I'm about to make a mistake. He took my peace away while I was pondering the approaching marriage. I fought it at first - for a whole week, but my peace would not come back. My every thought was on the marriage and that it was a mistake that God wanted me to avoid. When I finally relented and sent the e-mail to Jessica to break off the engagement God returned my peace to me immediately."
"Who told you that God takes His peace away from us to guide us?"
"He's always done this - my whole life."
"That's not what I asked you. I don't doubt this experience has happened to you repeatedly but I want to know who told you it was from God?"
"My father said that if anything in our life becomes more important to us than God, then God would test us by taking our peace away until we gave up that thing and chose Him instead," he answered with assurance.
I chose my words with care. "Danny, it may surprise you to know that the Bible does not say that. In fact, it says the exact opposite."
Danny looked at me in confusion, "I don't understand, Pastor Michael. My father is a Baptist minister. He knows what he is talking about."
I shook my head sadly, "Sorry, Danny, this is going to be hard for you to hear, but let us see what the Word of God says on this topic."
"Okay," Danny ventured unsurely.
"Jesus is called the Prince of..."
"Peace?" he answered with a hint of doubt.
"Let's look at John 14:27. Jesus said 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled.' Does it say 'My lack of peace I give to guide you?’ We need to make our decisions with wisdom based on God’s Word – and do so while dwelling in His peace.”
"I don't know where you are going with this, Pastor?"
"What does John 14:1 say, Danny?" I prompted,
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me," he answered.
"When you are about to make an important life decision and you lose your peace, would you say that your heart is troubled, Danny?"
His face was a mask of uncertainty. "Um, yes, I guess so. But you're making me so confused! This has happened to me all my life and it has always worked. Every time I did what it said and gave up something precious my peace came back. I thought it was God's voice!"
“We must test all experiences with the Word of God. If you are troubled whenever about to make an important decision you can rest assured that this is not from God. In fact a lot of Christians make this mistake. When something happens that they have no control over, such as you losing your peace, they incorrectly think that God is responsible. I'll be honest with you, Danny, this is not going to be easy. One of the foundation stones that you’ve built your life upon is this erroneous assumption. Now you are going to have to unlearn it and establish new thought patterns based on God’s word. Can you come for counselling once a week for awhile?”
“Of course, Pastor. What does this mean about my breaking off the engagement?”
“It means it was fear and not God telling you to break it off. Marriage is a big step and it’s natural to feel uncertain.”
"I'll ring Jessica as soon as I get home and tell her what I've learnt today. If she’ll talk to me."
"Of course she will. She's the one who sent you here, remember?”
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