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Archive for the tag “peace of God”

My lament

I’m at times angry, at times sad. More than anything, I’m frustrated and tired. I’m tired of certainty without verification. I’m frustrated by lack of sympathy/empathy for others’ points of view. I’m exhausted by some people’s felt need to immediately respond with skepticism to every current event, especially if the event goes against their own desires. I’m sick of denial. I’m worn thin by large swaths of the population being painted with the same brush.

I started to write something a few days ago, but I couldn’t find the words I wanted so I’m trying again.

I’m not sure my words matter, surely in the grand scheme of things they don’t, but it helps me to get my thoughts down sometimes when they just keep rolling around in my head. When those thoughts keep coming as soon as I’m not distracted by other things, it seems best to start writing with the hope that they’ll help someone else in one way or another.

I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to current events than I typically do recently. It started with COVID-19 & has continued through Ahmaud Arbery & George Floyd.

I still can’t handle watching or reading a lot of news. Gone are the days in which you could consider two or three news sources & be able to gain some reasonable idea of what the truth might be.

And that frustrates me.

I watch a little bit of news. I read a few articles. I read individual’s social media posts. I see how entrenched people are with what they choose to believe.

And that tires me.

I see those that think inconvenience equals a loss of liberty. I see that many think that freedom means following whatever path your heart desires. I see people who think their political candidate can do no wrong. I see people who think their opposing political candidate can do no right. I see a black kid gunned down by civilians. I see a black man murdered because a man, whose charge is to serve and protect, knelt on his neck until the man died, despite being told he couldn’t breathe, despite being told by bystanders that the man was in distress, despite three others that could help keep him under control IF he was resistant being present. I see bystanders unwilling to stop an obvious wrong (I assume) because of fear that if they did, their own lives might be forfeit (& I’m not at all saying I would do differently).

And that grieves me.

I want to weep with those who weep, but I worry that friends won’t understand & will think that I’m just falling for the mainstream media’s lies. I want to point out reasonable questions, but I’m afraid other friends will think I’m just deflecting from what’s really going on. I want to consider the background that other people are coming from, but I’m afraid that I’ll be met with the same old talking points. I want others to understand the background that I come from, but I’m afraid my own perspective will be considered irrelevant.

And that breaks my heart.

I see the hurt & the evil in this world. I see the obvious fallenness of this world. I see the depravity visible in each one of us.

And I feel powerless against it.

And I am.

I see the beauty of Creation even in the midst of destruction. I know the Hope that each person could have even in the midst of despair. I understand the Peace that is available even in the midst of strife.

And I feel like I can’t articulate properly.

At least not audibly, orally, face-to-face.

I pray for an end to this virus & a return to normal daily interactions. I pray that truth comes out & justice is served. I pray that there is some sense of healing in this country. I pray that Christians would represent their Name well. I pray that the victims, the murderers, the sick, the healthy, the cops, the protestors, the good actors, the bad actors, & everyone else would recognize these things:

  • God is real & created this world (there is no other reasonable explanation for this existence), and as such he has a right to dictate what is required of His creation.
  • Mankind has rejected God’s rule over him & pretends he is autonomous (sin). This is an offense to God & deserves punishment. (Since it is an offense against an eternal God, it is worthy of eternal punishment)
  • Jesus Christ, as both fully God & fully man, fulfilled God’s law (His requirements for man) & took on the punishment we all deserve making the way for our reconciliation to our Creator.
  • We have only to respond to His offer of forgiveness by confessing to Him that we have sinned against Him & believe in Jesus (that He is who He says he is & that He did what the Bible says He did & that He is able to save us from our condemnation) in order to have our sins forgiven, be reconciled to God, & have the hope of a new Heaven & a new Earth in the very presence of our Creator in which all things will be made new & we will have no more of the sadness, strife, & evil present in this life we now live.

We should stand against wrongs. We should desire justice. We should seek mercy. We should want equitable laws & regulations that protect the most vulnerable. We should ask that the powerful not get special treatment–especially when they do wrong. We should call out hypocrisy (especially & firstly in our own lives). We should demonstrate love toward one another & seek good for one another.

But we should also recognize that humanity is born in sin & there will be no lasting peace until Christ returns. If we love Christ, we should yearn for that Day. If we are opposed to Him, we should dread that Day.

Oh God! Be merciful to us. Open the eyes of blind. Let them see your love. Use this time of upheaval to draw your people out of the darkness of their sin & into the light of Truth. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your grace. May those that already know you, love well & live lives consistent with the love, mercy, & grace that You have shown them.

Amen.

Peace of Mind or the Peace That Passes All Understanding

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[…] I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Phil 4:4-9 & 11b-13 (ESV)

Being at peace with a decision is not the same as having the peace that passes all understanding. Making a decision that falls in line with your own desires is likely to produce a peace about the decision, but having a peace that passes all understanding is being at peace with the God of the universe through Jesus the Christ even though we deserve no peace from Him because we have committed treason against His infinite attributes (in other words, we have sinned against Him). If you have THAT peace, you can be at peace no matter what situation you are in regardless of whether it lines up with your desires or not.

“It is a by-product of the presence of the ‘God of peace’ that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” The full reality of that peace comes to bear as we obey the command of verse 8 above: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”–in other words, saturate your thoughts in Christ & the Gospel. (Thank you Pastor Gary for that helpful insight!)

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