I don’t understand why it has to be this way. And I don’t know the reasons God chooses to let so many bad things happen to people.
I just want to have peace in my life. And I want my family and friends to find peace also.
Even when they are dealing with …
- A work situation that has become chaotic.
- Physical issues making each day a struggle.
- Depression that sucks the joy out of each day.
- An aging parent who has not found God.
- Finances that are strained and uncertain.
And even though their kids may be facing …
- An uncertain future as a young, unwed mom.
- The challenges of moving back home after a divorce.
- A lingering illness that is robbing them of their youth.
- The struggles of making their own way in the world.
- Anxiety and hopelessness, with no end in sight.
All of the situations above are people I know well, not random examples. This is life in a fallen world. Reality, not fantasy, with actual people and real pain.
Taking the First Step
When facing trials, even non-religious people know the standard church responses, which sometimes come across to them as platitudes in the midst of their pain. Yes, tough times can help shape our character. Of course, compared to eternity, trials normally only last a short while. And we know that bad situations sometimes produce good outcomes.
Those things are true, but they may not bring relief to those who are suffering, at least not at first.
Because, first and foremost, finding peace requires faith. Our spiritual and emotional well-being will be determined, one way or the other, by whether or not we choose to declare these three things:
- God is good.
- He is in control.
- I will trust him.
If we affirm those things, and mean it, we can find a pathway to peace. Our trust must be unconditional, however–we choose to trust God no matter what. We still may not know why bad things are happening. And we may suffer, even terribly, in the process. But we can make it through.
And those “platitudes” of the church will come alive for us. Our character will be transformed. We will cherish the sweet promise of eternity. And we can look forward with hope to what is to come.
The Pathway to Peace
When the way is dark, we can only move forward one step at a time. We are reminded that life is a journey, and our job is to seek the right direction using God as our guide. So we strive to make wise choices and take the next right step. And then another.
To help us along the way, the five STEPS serve as a pathway to peace:
Surrender to God and choose faith. Make good choices and allow Transformation to occur. Show Empathy and forgiveness for others. Pursue daily Progress through prayer. Focus beyond ourselves through acts of Service. By doing these things, we can move forward, one step at a time.
But as we take those halting steps forward, we need to remember where to keep our focus.
In the book Calming the Storm Within, author Jim Lange uses Philippians (4:6-9) to remind us to “not be anxious about anything” because of the promise that “the God of peace will be with you.”
And he celebrates the life-changing declaration in Jesus’ final words to his disciples at the Last Supper: “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)
If we have the faith to believe those words, we can find a pathway to peace.
Question: What negative situation in your life is keeping you from finding peace?
Action: In the midst of your pain, prayerfully repeat as many times as it takes: I WILL TRUST GOD.