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Topic: Paths (05/17/04)
TITLE: Paths To Peace
By Norbert Isles
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God wants us to have peace. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world give did I give to you.’ (John 14:27) For this purpose he leads us to paths unknown to us before, paths meant to bring us the peace he alone can give. Here I share with you some paths to peace God has shown me.
The Path of Reconciliation
At 17 I had my moment of ruth. The question, ‘Who is the Lord of your life?' haunted me for days. As I wrestled with the answer, I realized that my heart was filled with fear and insecurity all those years. I felt that my life, my future and everything else depended only on me; and I saw how limited and inadequate I was. I was afraid of the future. That realization led me to reconcile with God. I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and asked him to take control of my life. No marvelous experience to witness the moment, no visible church to welcome me; but I felt God took me at my word and accepted my life in his hands. Since then, I have the conviction that my life is in his hands; and no matter what happen, God will always take care of me. He will see me through the storms that will come my life. And I had peace. The reconciliation with God led to reconciliation with other people. To forgive and be forgiven, no matter how deep the hurt and great the estrangement, is to have peace.
The Path of Blessings
With surrender to God came
the blessings of his Lordship. The truth of Matthew 6:33, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’ became a living reality in my life. Without any sure and regular source of funds for my college education, God faithfully provided for me through different channels. Living by God’s providence liberated me from the usual worries of the world (Matthew 6:32). The future I was afraid of and worried about became a delightful experience of God’s faithfulness. To live by God’s
providence is to have peace.
The Path of Detachment
The blessings of Lordship come
as answers to the ordinary needs and wants of life. But the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30) shows that seeds of evil may pass for good seeds and grow along side in the same heart where God’s blessings have been sown. The awareness usually comes much later; when the signs of nordinate attachment to the good things in life begin to surface. These good things soon become the new idols – looming large in our lives, creating imbalance and loss of focus.
And so God leads us to the path of detachment. It is a time when God strips us of the things that rival his place in our hearts, things we are not aware of. It is like stripping out the plaster from a bandaged wound. God allows us to feel the pain that attachment produces. Only then do we see the truth. The state of detachment is like an open hand – ready to receive, yet willing to give away; not closed as a clenched fist. We choose the path of detachment when we refuse to let anything or anyone but God be the source of our security. Detachment brings peace.
The Path of Boundless Confidence
The path to detachment leads to the path of boundless confidence. It is similar to, but much more challenging than detachment. While the path of detachment is barren land, the path of boundless confidence is a land of perils beyond one’s power to overcome. Here we come to trust God as Almighty Father even when the circumstances show it otherwise.
Nothing outside of us nor inside of us
assures that God is there at work. On the contrary, he seems to be absent and uncaring. Yet with boundless confidence we continue to put our trust in him and wait. We learn to live by the admonition ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). It is naked faith, simple trust, conviction beyond emotion, a seeing
without vision. For us God remains to be the all-powerful Almighty Father full of love and compassion. With boundless confidence, there is peace beyond reason.
The Path of Singleness of Heart
We love God in and through
people and things. Through this way love is somehow colored by the good and the bad they bring to us. Singleness of heart loves God for God’s sake alone. This path transforms our vision. Our heart sees only God. It comes through an inner insight or experience of God as Sovereign Lord – a God who is All in All. Nothing so minute or grand, so evil or so good, is beyond him. 'In him we live and move and have our being' (Acts 17:28).
The path to singleness of heart brings peace. While one is ‘disturbed' or ‘concerned’ in one level by the evil or disorder in life, on another level- a much deeper one - there is peace in the knowledge that God is the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. And nothing in life – great or small – disturbs the peace of a person with a single heart, single vision for God. He sees only God and God alone, and in this is utmost peace.
The Paths to Peace In Perspective.
These paths to peace are God’s
action mirrored in our experience.
Somehow they are given in our experience of awakening grace like a whole play encapsulated in a tiny scroll we soon forget. Then God unfolds it, scene by scene, in our journey through life. And one who is towards the end of the journey begins to see it whole once more, albeit, somewhat imperfectly, till ‘that
which is perfect comes’.