Just a quick scan of news headlines can be very discouraging, even downright frightening.
Justice Department finds racial bias in Ferguson police practices
Netanyahu Says Iran Poses ‘Threat to Peace of Entire World’
Iran calls Obama’s 10-year nuclear demand ‘unacceptable’
Target to cut thousands of jobs
It is hard to maintain inner peace when our world is in such chaos. Yet that is exactly what Christ came to bring us – a peace that the world will never be able to offer us (John 14:27), a peace that defies human understanding and guards our hearts and minds no matter what is going on around us (Phil. 4:7).
I remember a time when I experienced that kind of peace. I was pregnant with my first child, but had been put on 24 hour bedrest due to complications. I was fearful, worried I might be losing my baby. Lying in bed, I read Psalm 91 (NKJV):
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. … He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge … You shall not be afraid.”
Things like this are hard to explain, but as I read that passage, I could just picture God “covering me” and I felt peace in His presence.
My father once shared a story with me about God ministering peace to his spirit when he was going through a bout with cancer. He was driving down the road worrying about life, death, and his family. He had a Christian radio station on and a song called “Silent Partner” by Jessy Dixon began to play. Dad said he started to weep as he was comforted by the idea that God was his partner during that difficult time – a partner you might not always see or hear, but you know He’s there giving you strength and seeing you through.
A few years ago, I discovered prayer labyrinths (you can see prior posts about labyrinths and an explanation of what they are here). The image for this post includes a picture of one of my favorites at Mercy Retreat Center in St. Louis, MO. When my sister passed away in 2012, I was so glad I had found these beautiful places to pray. My time there brings me peace.
I share these stories with you because they show various ways to draw closer to God and attain the peace He promises – Bible reading, Christian music, prayer walks. Other means of finding peace might be through the company of friends and family, through worship services, or through inspirational reading. I have also had art minister peace to me. We might do as Paul suggested in Philippians 4:8-9 and think on anything we can that is good, or lovely, or praiseworthy when we are bombarded with negative news images. Paul also says in Philippians that when you do the things you know are right “the God of peace will be with you.” It is interesting that Paul wrote all this while he was in prison. He had discovered how to have peace regardless of his circumstances (4:11-13).
OUR PEACE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND US.
IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Now, what does all this have to do with being an encourager? Well, this is a time when those around us are worried and fearful. We will only be able to encourage them if we are at peace ourselves. You cannot lead someone to a place you cannot find yourself. So, build yourself up in the faith and then go minister to others who need peace.
MAY YOU SHINE AS LIGHTS IN A CROOKED AND PERVERSE WORLD! (Phil. 2:15)
This post is part of the Encourager’s Devotional Series.
Accompanying materials for this month’s devotions: Click here for the Bible study for March and here for the answer guide.
6 thoughts on “Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos – March Encourager’s Devotion”
‘Peace’ is the word I’ve chosen for the year. I’m using it as the basis of my Bible studies. I’m praying I can maintain it and it will be a demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit. One thing I learned early in the year is the only reason I don’t feel peace is I, like Peter when he walked on water, have taken my eyes off of the Lord and I’m looking at the world around me. I’m learning (slowly) that when I feel frazzled and frustrated by circumstances, I am voluntarily giving up my peace. No one else is responsible for keeping my world peaceful, I have to maintain my focus on the One who makes a difference. When I finally stopped fretting, took a deep breath, and looked to God, every time my peace has returned. I’m hoping I can remember to do this sooner — perhaps even before I fret!
One caution I’ve noticed, though — there is a difference between being at peace because I’m focusing on God and being peaceful because I’m stuffing everything inside and pretending it doesn’t bother me! Nor can I ignore the world around me and live in a protective shell. Only when I can learn to look at the world through Christ’s lens will I be able to succeed in this endeavor for peace. This is going to take me a while!
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Great insights, Susan. Thanks for sharing. The peace we seek is the kind that allows us to venture out into the world effectively, not (as you said) pull us into a protective shell.
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