Tag Archives: John 16:33

Procuring Peace in a Crazy World

How are we supposed to be at peace when it feels like the world around us has gone mad? Some days it feels like an impossible task.

But let’s really think about it for a minute. What does peace look like to you? A home where everyone gets along? A calendar with more open days than filled days? The absence of conflict in the world around you?

First of all, sign me up for all of these things. 😉 Second, while these scenarios are desirable and may make you feel peaceful for a while, they are too dependent on outside circumstances to allow for true, unshakeable peace.

True peace transcends our circumstances, as paradoxical as it sounds. Peace is one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit, which means we need His power in order to live in peace, despite our circumstances.

For the Christian, true peace is a gift from God, but it also comes from deep trust. We trust that God’s plan is ultimately best, so we walk in peace. We trust that God is love and nothing we can ever do will change his great love for us, so we walk in peace. We trust that, in the end, God will right all the wrongs of this crazy world, so we walk in peace. Usually.

It’s all too easy to fall into a state of inner conflict or unrest, and when we find ourselves in this place, we need to examine our souls. If peace comes from deep-rooted trust in God, then conversely, conflict comes from distrust, whether we acknowledge it or not.

We don’t see God moving in the way we’ve been praying for, so we doubt his goodness and our hearts are conflicted. We aren’t convinced God’s love is unconditional, and our hearts are conflicted as we ponder what that means for us. We see people around us doing terrible things and being honored by the world, and we are conflicted as we question whether God will bring justice to the hard situations. (If trusting God is a challenge, check out this relevant post from awhile back: The Huge Truth My Characters Taught Me About Trusting God.)

Peace is largely the result of trust—honest, true, deep-rooted trust. It takes courage to attain peace, because it takes courage to faithfully trust God in all things. And peace is certainly not the result of a lack of conflict in the world around us. I can assure you that’s not going away before Jesus comes back.

How do we go about procuring this peace, especially since it sometimes feels like a moving target?

  • We spend time with God. Not just a few minutes in the morning, but throughout the day. We play worship music, have conversations with others, talk to God about random things throughout our days, and get to know him on a deeper level.
  • We actively display our trust by submitting to him.
  • We pray and ask him for his peace to fill our lives.
  • We remember that Jesus himself walks before, beside, and behind us through all things.
  • We bring him into every part of life until our hearts are entirely yielded to him and once we do that, we don’t stop there because we know it’s a daily process that is easily undone if we let down our guard.
  • When we lose our peace, we pray for more strength and more faith and we declare our trust in God until our hearts and minds are at peace once again, filled with confidence in his trustworthiness and goodness.

Striving for peace is a goal of mine this year. Maybe it is for you, too. If so, join me in lingering on these verses and promises from God:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7

I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world! –John 16: 33

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. –2 Thessalonians 3:16

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. –John 14:27

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.         –Psalm 4:8

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. –Philippians 4:9

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. –Isaiah 32:17

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. –Romans 12:18

Print out these verses and hang them where you’ll see them every day. Share them with a friend or relative going through a hard time. Nothing beats Scripture when it comes to speaking peace into our lives.

I pray, as you read this, that God would fill you with unshakeable peace and that your trust in his love and his goodness would permeate into your heart and soul more than ever before. Amen.

Steadfast Like Mary

I feel like I just blinked and the whole Christmas season passed. Though it feels like a blur, I can still look back and see memories being made, character being grown, and relationships being strengthened. And throughout it all, I must say I’ve had Mary on my mind this season.

Mary was only a teenager when an angel appeared and told her she would conceive the Messiah, of whom she’d heard prophesies about her whole life.

She readily and joyfully accepts her assignment (in spite of the risks to her relationship with her fiancée Joseph, their families, etc.). She says yes to God, even in spite of knowing the details of how it would all work out.

Fast forward about nine months. Mary could give birth any day now, but suddenly is required to travel 80 miles with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Possibly by donkey, possibly by foot. Either way, this was a very pregnant woman traveling 80 slow miles.

Let’s just pause here for a sec.

I mean, honestly. If I was Mary and knew I could give birth to the Messiah any day, I don’t imagine I would have been quite so agreeable. My thought process probably would have gone something like this: Uh, God…seriously?? Did you hear what they’re asking of me? Let me politely remind you how I already said yes to this giant assignment you gave me of birthing the Messiah – surely you aren’t going to make me travel 80 miles on a donkey. Right, God? Right??

Maybe she had similar thoughts. Then again, maybe she didn’t.

Finally the time comes for Jesus to be born and there’s no available lodging anywhere in town. After 80 miles on a donkey this strong, determined, pregnant teen labors and delivers our Savior in a stable, surrounded by animals.

Let’s recap real quick: Mary accepted the assignment of being the mother of Jesus, daunting as that would have been. She then traveled 80 miles only to give birth to the Savior in a barn.

We’ll never know the thoughts that ran through her mind, but if it was me, it probably would have been something along the lines of: This whole being the mother of Jesus thing is absolutely incredible, God. But, uh, a barn? Really? This is The Promised One, your son—why on earth would you let him be born in a barn?

Basically all Mary knew from the angel that visited her when she conceived was that Jesus would grow up to reign over a great kingdom. Fast forward 33 years and imagine banking on THAT promise from a human perspective, then witnessing your perfect son going to trial and being crucified, the most horrible of deaths. What a horrifying turn of events.

But through her sorrow, Mary believed Jesus when he said he’d rise again in three days. She was steadfast. Steadfast. Though time and time again things didn’t go as she expected, she kept saying yes to God. And you know what? All of God’s promises came true. He was faithful, as he is today and every day.

Though his promises came true in ways that were unexpected and maybe even seemed a bit backward to Mary in the moment, his promises still came true. Because he had a bigger, better plan than she could have dared to dream.

You see, God’s big-picture plan extended to all of humanity whereas Mary could only see the plan through the lens of her life in that moment. But still, she said yes to God, again and again.

Can you imagine if she hadn’t?

In this coming year, I pray for everyone who reads this to receive the strength, the steadfastness, and the faith Mary exhibited. I pray that when you step out in faith to follow God and then roadblocks pop up, that you will still see God moving for the good of humanity and keep saying yes to his plan. I pray that God’s goodness would not be brought to trial in your mind when problems come (and they will come), but that your faith in God’s character would lead you forward in confidence.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

Thanks for spending some of your valuable time reading! Here’s a quick update on me – the editing process for my middle grade novel, Power Up, is still rolling (rather slowly). It should be released this year, although I have no idea when at this point. I have a couple other works in progress that I’m excited about, although I did take a couple weeks off from writing over the holidays to be able to relax and celebrate the season with my awesome family. I hope you all had a great Christmas!

One last thing – please consider leaving me your email address in the sign-up box provided (if you haven’t already) so you can receive each new blog post directly to your inbox! Thanks!