Picture Perfect Peace

20130805-133756.jpgFor anyone who didn’t know, I live in Southern California. In the last 19 months that I have lived down here, I have had access to picture perfect days on arguably some of the most serene, beautiful beaches in the world. I do not say this to boast, I feel extremely blessed to live where I do! Visual person that I am, it also prompted me to do some soul searching as to what “peace” looks like.

We all have different mental and emotional images for peace: a small brook with water quietly streaming by, the view of a park from a mountain top at sunset, a bird gracefully gliding through the air, a fireplace with your favorite blanket and favorite book, a clear and beautiful day at the beach when the ocean seems to go on forever…you get the picture! 🙂 While these things may all generate momentary peace, such peace is destroyed as soon as something interrupts the stimuli that was providing this peace. There is nothing wrong with this type of peace; however, it is circumstantial and can not last.

I have found a peace that does last though. It is a peace that surpasses understanding. It is more constant and unfailing than the sun. It doesn’t fade or diminish when life seems to go crazy, as it often does. It does not depend on any outside influence, save one. It’s source? God Himself.

I have always loved reading about David’s heart and journey in the book of Psalm. He went through so much (attempted murders by both his father-in-law and his own son, needing to hide for years in remote caves, intense rejection by his peers, betrayal by the very people he risked his life to save and serve, etc.), and was by no standards perfect (for one, he had an affair with a woman whose husband he had killed). Yet God called him a “man after His own heart“. I believe this was, in part, because of David’s constant willingness to acknowledge his imperfections, insecurities and need for God. David ends almost every psalm with something that glorifies God, no matter how he was feeling at the beginning of it, or what insane situation he was facing.

God was the ultimate source of David’s peace and joy. Not the temporary pleasures of this world, but God who is infinite and unending; the very definition of love.

Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. (Psalm 43:4-5 NKJV)

Another version says,

Then I will go to the altar of God. I will go to God. He is my joy and delight. God, you are my God. I will praise you by playing my harp.
My spirit, why are you so sad? Why are you so upset deep down inside me? Put your hope in God. Once again I will have reason to praise Him. He is my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:4-5 NIRV)

When we put our hope in God, we can have peace and joy, regardless of what obstacle may be facing us.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:6-8 NKJV)

If we keep our minds focused on those things, our perspective shifts. The perspective shift, and necessity to control our thoughts is probably something I’ll need to save for another post! 😉

This week, let’s focus on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. Let’s focus on the things we are thankful for. Let’s find our peace and joy in a Source that is solid and unfailing. Let’s rest in the unchanging peace of God.

 

Lots of Love,

Michelle

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