Understanding Peace that passes understanding
I want to share with you my struggle because I believe that it will help your struggle. These last two weeks I have been seriously struggling with peace. I have some major deals in the air that I am praying (as of Wednesday) that they come to close. I wish I could somehow open myself so that you can see the turmoil these things have been causing in my life so that you can understand the true depth that my angstiness has reached.
This angst that I am experiencing left me on a quest to find a formula to peace. The bible talks A LOT about having peace in the midst of trouble, but I truly struggled to get past the platitudes of Christianity and into the heart of feeling peaceful despite the storm that is surrounding us.
There are two types of Peace that I have found:
The breathe of fresh air you feel when you recieved the answer you were seeking. This is usually when your muscles let go after being tense and the stomach finally stops being in that place where void meets pain. The storm may not be over, but it’s manageable you can see an end and you can relax.
The other type of stress brings with it intense suffering. I have found that you may or may not have an answer to the question you have. I have found that answers don’t always give you peace. This could be likened to the last play of the superbowl when you are down by three. The greatest question has been answered. You caught the ball; your running toward the end zone. The path in front of you is clear, but you see that the opposing team is closing on either side of you. You’re hearts pounding in your chest. Your brain knows it got through the toughest part of the challenge—the ball is in your hands. Now it’s just carrying that answer to it’s completion.
In most circumstance this is easy, but in this scenario you know the finalization sits on your shoulders. God has done his part—you are carrying it. Sweat pours from under your helmet, your legs feel as though they are on fire. With the exhale of each breathe marks a harder gasp in catching more wind; more air.
In football this comes down to seconds in life this could be weeks or months your have been carrying this answer. Satan does everything he can to tire you out. You spin, you juke, you stiff arm, and you leap over obstacles. You fight your way protecting your answer. Protecting that which has been entrusted to you. You ask God where’s the peace? Where’s the strength?
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
But your knees are buckling. You begin to question: Is it me? Do I lack faith? Am I not drawing from God’s strength?
Satan whispers: You’re running the wrong way. God didn’t give you an answer—it’s a struggle because it’s your dream not his. You aren’t worthy enough. You aren’t special enough. This is your pride, not your calling.
All the while your friends are yelling scriptural platitudes at you.
You scream out
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Like Israel you cry out God do you even know I am still running? Did you forget the answer isn’t the completion? I’m still running!
You begin to feel like Jesus felt on the cross. My God, My God Why have your forsaken me!
This moment on the cross is when God completely turn his back on His son.
So what do you do?
There are several important realizations you need to understand!
You’re not Jesus
God hasn’t turned his back on you.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
2. As I stated in sermons before: Your feelings lie.
If you wait to feel peaceful you will not know peace.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never becomes faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding.
For those who know me know I love psychology and learning about how one’s mind works however, the biggest issue I have with psychology is that they focus on feelings. It’s often asked
How Does That Make You Feel?
How Does That Make You Feel?
Notice how Isaiah, while God speaks through him, refocuses Israel’s turmoil. He uses the two words know and heard—not feeling.
Modern day psychology wants you to believe that peace is the absence of trouble. World peace is the absence of war, but I have yet to find a biblical example where this is true. Usually in the midst of the calm sin happens. There’s the old saying idolness is the devils playground. Anytime Israel knew external peace they would find ways to get themselves in trouble. They would find idols to worship. We see this with David and Bathsheba. We see this Moses where he was just walking around and ended up killing someone.
Paul says he has found contentment no matter his situation; whether with plenty or in want. I find it almost impossible to believe that while Paul was sitting in jail bleeding, bruised, and hungry that he felt the absence of trouble—yet he was peaceful. I don’t know about you, but I would find it nearly impossible to find physical peace when fighting rats for my food, and picking bugs out of my wounds. But Just right before that verse in the same chapter we read
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Paul is stating the same thing Isaiah was saying years after Isaiah said it. Paul uses terms of knowledge or knowing. Learned, heard, received But he also gives you the answer to the statement many Christians will receipt as a platitude.
How do you receive Peace beyond understanding. First the reason Peter calls it peace beyond understand is because it doesn’t follow the world’s definition of peace—without turmoil or war. The peace Paul is talking about is peace in the midst of turmoil and war.
Paul tells us this peace will guard our hearts and mindIN CHRISt. How? He answers that in verse 8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
You find peace not in your circumstances, but in your thought patterns.
We see a perfect example of this in
Paul and Silas beat with rods and were flogged then thrown into prison.
I highly doubt their bodies felt peaceful. I am going to use a very Chrsitianese word, but I will explain it.
Paul and Silas’ answer to physical pain was to
The word transcend means to:
Go beyond the limits of
Go beyond the limits of
In their body they felt pain. They went past the limits of their bodily condition How?
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,
It is proven: scientifically that pain has less of an effect on your body—meaning pain hurts less—when you don’t think about it. Pain is nothing more than your body sending your brain messages that something hurts. The more you receive the messages of pain the more messages your receive thus the more pain you feel.
Paul and Silas took their thoughts beyond the pain and went into the presence of God. Did their physical pain go away—no. This verse says nothing of them being physically healed of the beatings they recieved. Yet only once does the verse state anything physically about Paul and Silas.