You want it around you, and you want it within you.
You long for it in relationships and for the world, yet you also desire it for your mind.
It's PEACE. The steady, quiet, deep-breath-kind of assurance that all will be well. It's a stillness that isn't idle but propels you into rest and joy.
Why is it that peace is so soft, yet seems so hard to attain? You see, we make it complicated. We drift into thinking that we have PEACE when all is perfect and calm… when there is no storm. However, my mind goes to the story of Jesus during a storm, on a boat with His disciples. (Mark 4:35-41). On this stage, you do not expect to see Peace performing. The waters are sharp, the sky is dark, and the wind is in chaos. It is alarming. But Jesus is asleep.
When the disciples went to awake Him and asked why He didn't care -- essentially, why He was at peace -- Jesus got up: "And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (v.39). Jesus then said, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
That is what the issue was! Jesus was PRESENT the whole time during the storm. Focused on the storm's presence, the disciples could not observe the presence of Jesus clearly. The disciples had all they needed: they had Jesus -- WITH THEM.
Anxiety doesn't make sense when Jesus is present. Fear is illogical. His perfect Presence over-rules storms and turmoil. It's a matter of faith, trusting that "God with us" means we can have peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace in our lives, even when it seems like the most unlikely response to what is happening around us.
God's peace doesn't always make sense when you look AROUND, but it always makes sense when you look UP. I invite you, look up! And, transfer all your worries to Him in prayer. Jesus has made a way for you to live in peace, right here, right now.
PRAYER & REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR ERIC:
Such a powerful statement from Emily, "God's peace doesn't always make sense when you look AROUND, but it always makes sense when you look UP." So good. So encouraging.
My prayer, "Heavenly Father, HALLOWED be your name. I look up. I look towards your throne -- surrounded by Heaven's angels -- all of eternity circled about you. I look up to see your feet established with the earth as your footstool. I look up to see you all glory and honor bestowed upon your Son. I look up to see Jesus' eyes like fire and a two-edged, piercing sword proceeding out of the mouth that spoke all of Creation into existence. Then, I look around, and I see that there is nothing that can match your power, authority, and majesty. If you are for me, who or what can be against me? Thank you for revealing yourself as high and lifted up! With my hands lifted in surrender, I receive your peace. Own me. Fully establish your authority in my life. Raise the banner of your Kingdom, Christ's blood over my entire home and heart. Let the enemy know that my soul is hallowed ground, and he has no permission to trespass. Let PEACE reign. In Jesus' name, Amen."