Recently, I was thinking about the times in my life when I walked through some dark valleys, and because of my faith, I was sustained by an indescribable inner peace. The first was when my father died. The second was when my oldest son moved 3,000 miles away. And the third was when my husband, Joe, had his recent heart attack. This latest experience was freshest in my mind, and I wrote down some things that helped me to understand why I handled it as well as I did.
First, I concentrated on the knowledge that God was with me. Even when my feelings didn't support me in this knowledge, I chose to believe God's Word which says it is so. One of my favorite Scriptures on this subject is John 14:18 (TLB), where Jesus says, "I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm--I will come to you." No matter what my emotions told me, I knew in my heart that the Lord was with me, and as I put my trust in Him, He began to reveal Himself to me right in the middle of my storm. And that alone gave me great peace. David wrote, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me." (Psalm 23:4 NIV) I have always liked the way the NIV footnote says, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley..." There is no valley so dark that the presence of God cannot penetrate it.
Secondly, I dwelled on the truth that God was in control. As countless doctors and nurses frantically tried to keep my husband alive, I rested in the knowledge that the Lord was in complete control of everything that was going on around me, and that Joe's life was in His hands. I began to confess, "Jesus is Lord," and "God's in control." As I disciplined my thoughts and kept them focused on the Lord, I began to experience the unshakable peace that His Word promises--"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) The Living Bible says it this way: "He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord." When my thoughts tried to turn away from God and His promises, I purposefully turned them back, and it made all the difference.
Thirdly, I knew that God would bring good out of whatever happened. I can't honestly say that I knew with certainty that my husband would be all right. But I DID know that no matter what the outcome was, God would bring good out of it somehow. Most of us are familiar with God's promise in Romans 8:28 which says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (NASB) But not until our faith is severely tested do we find out for sure how much we really believe it. As I put my faith in this promise, and the God who made it, I began to experience the peace that "surpasses all understanding." (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)
If you have placed your faith in Christ, you don't have to respond to the storms of life like the rest of the world does. As you make a quality decision to believe God and His Word in each and every trial that comes your way, you will rise above your circumstances, and find true peace in the midst of the storm!
Prayer: Lord, whenever I'm faced with adversity, remind me that You are with me, and grant me Your discernible presence. Assure me that You are in control, no matter how chaotic and confusing things may be around me. Give me the certainty that no matter what happens, You will bring great good out of it. Thank You that as I keep my trust firmly placed in You, I shall remain peaceful, tranquil, and unshakable!
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