I Thought He Promised Peace

img_1279037826761_7781This morning’s entry in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young struck a deep cord within me—My Peace is the treasure of treasures: the pearl of great price…I purchased this Peace for you with My blood. You receive this gift by trusting Me in the midst of life’s storms…spiritual blessings come wrapped in trials.

When I first became a Christian, I longed for the peace promised by Jesus Christ—especially since I was in the midst of an unwanted divorce. It drew me to my first Bible study, hoping and praying that I would discover the secret. And eventually I did, but it wasn’t as simple as a list I could check off. Instead, it was following years of seeking God’s face, praying for His wisdom and asking for transformation from the inside out. Gaining peace is a process of growing faith. And neither peace nor faith comes without enduring many trials.

It’s so easy to feel peace and joy when life is going well. Money in the bank, food on the table and a clean bill of health. Yeah, times like that, life is good. I used to say I preferred a boring life (because that’s what it was) rather than facing upheaval and chaos. Because when trials came, as the inevitably do, peace (at least for me) would disintegrate like a sandcastle hit by a wave. Hmm, reminds me of Luke 6:48—They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. My house, or sandcastle, was not built on rock.

Spiritual growth seems to be a slow process—two steps forward, one step back. Or, even two steps back. And often, we’re so stuck in the day-to-day process that we aren’t even aware that we’ve moved forward at all. And shame on me, I forgot that the journey is to know Christ—not to find peace. Because it’s in knowing Him that we receive the promised peace He offers.

The women’s Bible study group I attend started studying John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. I expected it to be yet another study that convicts me of where I continually fail in this Christian life. But instead, what I’m discovering is that everyone’s journey toward a relationship with Christ will look different. And in one passage, I’m reminded of my past life—B.C. (Before Christ)—and how truly deceived I was to believe that a good marriage (or what I perceived one to be back then), two healthy kids and a career I enjoyed was the epitome of life. I had it all by the world’s standards, and yet had I continued in that vain, sadly, I would have wasted my life—even if I’d been saved (and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t.)

I’ve always thought eternal life will begin when I die. It never entered my mind that eternal life began the moment I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And if I’m living my eternal life while here on earth, why would I waste one moment of it in mediocrity? And that’s what I’d lived right up until the hour of my surrender. Did submitting my life to Jesus bring me immediate peace? Of course not. But it put me on a journey toward that peace—a journey of discovering who He is and how my life should reflect His glory.

John Piper writes: But God loves us by giving us eternal life at the cost of his Son, Jesus Christ. But what is eternal life? Is it eternal self-esteem? Is it a heaven full of mirrors? Or snowboards, or golf links, or black-eyed virgins?       

No. Jesus tells us exactly what he meant: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). What is eternal life? It is to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ. No thing can satisfy the soul. The soul was made to stand in awe of a Person—the only person worthy of awe (pg. 35).

When this becomes our reality, we are living our eternal life—the life of peace and joy Jesus promises in His Word. And it is only through building our lives on the foundation of Him that we can truly find peace.

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