“And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.” Philippians 4:7
We are contemplating this week what it means to wrestle with, or question, God. This is a hard topic, because as followers of Christ, we aren’t supposed to question or doubt are we? Don’t we have the faith to believe that He is in control of everything and will work it all out for those who believe? At least, that is what we have been taught, isn’t it?
Well, that may have been what we were taught (depending on the faith tradition of your childhood.) But I don’t believe it now. In fact, the more I walk with God, the more questions I have. And I believe He welcomes them.
How do you truly get to know someone without asking questions? We can make assumptions, surely, but to blindly believe something without digging into it and knowing for ourselves doesn’t make much sense.
This is especially true when bad things happen to us. I have heard many preachers talk about the peace of Jesus, the peace that surpasses all understanding. What a lovely thought. I can be peaceful through anything. But when the rubber hits the road, and I am in a great crisis, how am I supposed to get this peace people speak of?
For me, in those times of doubt and uncertainty, the first thing out of my mouth was not, “Oh thank you Lord, for your peace.” It was more like, “Why me, Lord? Why do I deserve this??”
And in those times, only in my distress and questioning, do I find the comforting presence of Jesus. In those times, when I am driven to pray more intently or to open my Bible in search of some word of peace – it is then that Jesus runs to engage with me. It is then that He speaks to me and reassures me. That is where my faith is grown, in the questioning and in the conversations. My faith is strengthened in the depths of my doubts and fears. My faith is never grown in platitudes and inspirational sayings on greeting cards.
And, let’s be real. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to. Sometimes things that happen to us are simply bad. Where are we to go then? Are we to turn to a church doctrine that tells us everything is good when we know it is not? Or are we to turn to a Savior that cries with us over injustice and pain?
My peace and faith are not built upon the belief that God will only allow good things to happen for me. My peace and faith rest on the risen Christ – the One who walks with me through those bad things. My faith rests The Good Shepherd that I know intimately because we have talked and He has spoken peace into my heart in the midst of the storms. And many times, He has carried me through them. My peace rests on the Lord I KNOW, and not the one that I have simply heard stories about.
My Lord is powerful and merciful, and kind. He is strong enough to stand up to our most demanding questions and love us all the way through them. Is that how you know Him, friends?
Peace and grace to you.
Praise be to You. For You are great and I am small. You know everything, and I know so little. Lord, I don’t understand much of what happens in the world, but You do. There are things that disturb me, things that hurt me, and I don’t know why. Could You, in Your infinite grace, help me? Help me to understand. Help me to see. But most importantly, help me to have peace in You, regardless of these things going on around me. Give me the ability to sleep and not worry. Give me the ability to have hope instead of fear. Give me a word today, Lord, that will assure me of Your divine presence.
In the name of Jesus Christ I pray,