Some days, we just want to get back to normal. No drama. No surprises. Just ordinary, predictable routines and foreseeable outcomes.
As I sipped hot tea with my Bible on my lap, the uncertainty around me seemed overwhelming. Repeated news of the mounting Corona Virus closing campuses, restricting travel, and emptying store shelves made me uneasy. My 84-year-old dad seemed to be in relatively good health, but the situation still evoked concern. One of my children had just received a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. My prayer list included requests from friends with work challenges, impaired vision, serious heart issues, grief after a miscarriage, and regrets of adult children turning from the faith. Heavy burdens . . . all carried by people I cared about. Not to mention my own concerns as I recuperated from major surgery three weeks before.
Despite what I knew in my heart, an unsettling sense of anxiety gripped me. In addition, I felt guilty for feeling this way. How many times had I witnessed abundant answers to prayer? Hadn’t God Himself invited us to bring our stormy situations to the throne of grace? Wasn’t God able to do abundantly more than all we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)? Why, then, did I feel so uneasy?
Quest for Peace
I flipped through my Bible, searching for a little perspective to replace my nagging angst with peace.
My first stop took me to a first-century fishing boat occupied by Jesus’ disciples on the Sea of Galilee. They had obeyed His bidding to cross the lake after a long day of ministry, but by evening a powerful wind picked up, causing the scene to be anything but peaceful. What struck me were these words: “And [Jesus] saw that they were making headway painfully” (Mark 6:48). Don’t we all feel that way at times? We’re trying so hard to move in the right direction with little to show for our efforts. Jesus sees our struggles. And just like in the story, He comes to us. He gets into the boat with us. And we often find ourselves “utterly astounded” by the calm He creates (verse 51). I needed some of that calm. Can you relate?
We most appreciate peace in the midst of the storm. Our fluxuating circumstances mimic the windy seas, tossing our emotions high and low. God may or may not choose to bring calm to our situations and remove our burdens, but He does promise to calm our hearts.
I turned to Philippians and savored the words written in a damp Roman prison by Paul, the apostle:
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 (4:6-7).
In the turmoil and uncertainty of the world around us, God remains the same. He understands our propensity to be anxious and worried. He invites us to share all of our concerns and petitions with Him and reminds us to also offer our thanks.
One more promise echoed in my mind as I meditated on God’s truth, a promise that filled in the missing link for me. The key to peace is trust. Trust in the all-seeing, all-powerful, everywhere-present One who is also compassionate and good. Isaiah 26:3-4 in The Amplified Bible said it perfectly:
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind . . . is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever: for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].
I refilled my mug and settled in to pray. Before the Lord, I spread out my list of stormy concerns for my family and friends and even for myself. I could confidently bring each worry to Him. I could release each situation to His care. I could trust the God of the universe with each request. And as much as I longed for resolution and normal, predicable routines, I could trust Him to be an everlasting Rock of stability, no matter what the future held.