For the first time in six and half weeks something amazing has happened in my faith “situation.” For the first time March 23rd I have total and complete peace. Here is the strange thing. Nothing in my faith crisis has changed. No problem has been solved and no answers have been given. In fact I believe the story is perhaps at its climax and I have just about as much of a clue as I have had since this all started – none. But in his grace God has given me a much needed emotional break from what is going on and although I can’t say I have experienced this kind of inexplicable and complete peace very often, I can say I am incredibly grateful for it.
In my quest to discern God’s will and voice in this almost seven week long roller coaster ride, I recently read the book “The Power of a Whisper” by Bill Hybels. In it he tells about a time he was faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem he had no idea how to traverse. So he decided to pray: “I’ve often heard people say they prayed “all night” when an especially agonizing situation threatened their health or well-being. Those statements are understood to be hyperbole, right? Sort of like the country songs that talk about making love “all night long.” Hybels however decided to pray, face on the floor, and tears flowing – all night long. Finally at 5 am Hybels heard an answer from God to his complicated and overwhelming problem. God told him to “get up, go to work, put one foot in front of the other and remember I am with you today” and to do the same the next day and the next. Despite his confusion at the simplicity and the lack of earth shattering revelation God gave him in this directive, he obeyed. “When I got to the office, not one of my circumstances had changed. But in spite of all that, I felt a deep and abiding sense of serenity as God assured, “I will help you stay this course.”
God does not promise us many things in this life but he does promise us peace. And when we have every reason to be upset and anxious and then experience an overwhelming sense of calm in the midst of the unknown, peace rocks. When there are no answers, no end and many variables lurking in the distance, peace sustains and offers hope. Peace also makes you feel like you lost fifty pounds (your jeans will still fit the same unfortunately). The one thing that God promises us in the life is a game changer.
“Dear Lord, thank you for the peace you gave me yesterday when I finally had to wash my hands of the outcome of my faith crisis. Thank you that when I finally realized that there was nothing more I could do that you haven’t already asked me to do, you assured me that my work was done but that yours would be continuing. You told me that not with a bullhorn, a sign or even a whisper, but you told me that by giving me complete and total peace when I thought I couldn’t go on for another day. Thank you for the rest that comes knowing that you have this. Thank you for moving me from frightened to (almost) fearless and from heartbroken to hopeful without changing a single variable in the story (yet). I am so thankful. In Your Name, Amen.”