Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Peace In the Midst of Adversity

The following was written for my church's newsletter in the midst of a preaching series on 'Peace.'

By the time you read this article, we will be a few weeks into the sermon series, Peace. My great fear is that in the desire to have peace in various areas of our lives -where there is trouble and the waves of life are tempting us to fear what harm will come our way – my fear is that we will move our eyes off the peace with God that has been made “by the blood of his cross.”

It’s pretty easy really. The difficulties that creep and seep into our life are right before us. The temptation is to simply remove those things, which are stealing peace. The temptation is to place all our hope in the removal of any and every thing that is an obstacle to peace. The temptation is to have a horizontal hope, all the while ignoring the vertical peace we have. The temptation is to say, “Yes… Yes, I know I have peace with God, now I just have to get rid of this adversity.” The temptation is to be of the opinion peace can only be had by the absence of adversity. The temptation is to idolize the lack of adversity and difficulty and the calm waters of other people’s lives.

Or perhaps it is just me.

But I doubt it. We are a culture whose prayer requests are riddled with concerns about physical health and family trouble while prayers offered to God asking him to reveal his glory in the midst of adversity are like the Yeti. Heard of but never really seen. Guilty? Yeah, me too.

So how do we get to the point where we actually long for peace in the midst of adversity and not just peace by the removal of adversity? Well the regimen is certainly more difficult than the prescription. It is the daily relentless preaching of the gospel of grace to yourself.

Think about it. When your world seems to be crumbling and nothing seems to be going the way you think it should, what will be the “anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19)? Will it be the temporary hope of all that has just proved itself not worthy of our trust or will it be the one who gave it and took it away (Job 2:21)? Will it be the resurrection of all that has fallen around you or will it be the promise of the future resurrection? Will it be in the replacement of all that has proved to be dust or will it be in the one who holds the Universe in his hands? Will we find peace in the change of our circumstances or will we find peace in the midst of adversity?

Even those who do not believe the gospel find peace in easy times and Disney Land-like bliss. But only those who daily find peace in the gospel of what God has done to save us by the work of Jesus have a peace that rises above “understanding” (Phil 4:7). Preach the gospel to yourself everyday and “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15).

No comments: