Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are you searching for peace?

I’ve only walked with Christ for the last (almost) decade. I spent most of those years searching hard for God’s will and being very confused about how exactly you find it. I have heard (and parroted) the phrase “I prayed and just had a peace about it”. Eventually I came to believe that you should search for God’s will and plan and then wait until you had a peace about it and that is how you would know it was God’s will. I know now that is all wrong.

The truth is, most of what I would point to as an example of things God used to help me grow more like Christ were things that I didn’t feel a peace about. I have never shared the Gospel with someone that I didn’t feel nervous, shaky, and a little nauseous and I have been doing it on a regular basis for nine years. Still no “peaceful feelings”. But is it Biblical? You bet. Am I supposed to do it? Of course! I shudder to think of what the results would have been if I had waited until I felt a peace about it. The decision to forgive has never come out of a peace. It has been hard. It has been accompanied by worry, and a battle against my own pride. On my journey there has been suffering involved at times and let’s be honest: I’m not the courageous type who willingly signs up for that. No, it wasn’t a feeling of peace that paved the way to being more like Christ. And it wasn’t because I saw the big picture or the end result. I NEVER knew what the end result would be. It was obedience to the clear, practical Will of God as He described in the Bible.

I’ve been guilty of saying (numerous times) that I wish God would just show me His will for something in black and white. I am beginning to understand that it’s always found in black and white, and often in red.

The problem is not in how He answers.

The problem is we ask the wrong question.

When we say we are looking for God’s will what do we mean? Are we looking for instructions on how to get through this day in a way that pleases God OR are we asking God to reveal the future to us? One is biblical, and one is turning Almighty God into your personal fortune teller. And I don’t think God is in the business of giving us our horoscope. I confess I have wasted too much time wanting God to reveal to me what He is going to do so that I could try my best to avoid mistakes or avoid anything that might bring unnecessary pain or discomfort. But remember what I said before? Sometimes the things that made me more like Christ WERE uncomfortable. And some of them I would never have chosen on the front end. But I’m so glad He knew better.

So as for me, I am going back to the basics. Today I am going to figure out how Romans 12:2 applies to what I am going to watch or listen to today. And I am going to figure out what God’s Word says about balancing grace and discipline as I try to instill character in these sweet kids. I will make time to read what He actually has to say and I will be thankful for what I have today. We will pick up where we left off on a mountain of paperwork, but I won't ask God how many kids will be in my home next year or what kind of time frame He has in mind. And by all means possible, I will force myself to be kind to that person that is like sandpaper in my life! And as I do that, if I believe that God is sovereign, then I don’t have to worry about messing up God’s long term plans. I am practicing deliberate simplicity and obedience and leaving the big picture to a big God. In THAT I find security, and in that, would you believe .... I find peace.