Monday, April 21, 2014

Be Not Afraid and Have Peace

Friends of Faith:
The Resurrection message is about the peace we find by placing our trust in the Lord.

Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! … Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.” Mt 28: 1-10
The published “count” for the number of times “do not be afraid” appears in the bible differs – up to an often quoted 365 times (once for each day of the year).
But the actual count really doesn’t make as much difference as the message itself and WHY God is so adamant that instead of having fear we should place our trust in him. And the promise that God gives us if, and when, we place our trust in him – the promise of eternal life. A life filled with something more than just worldly happiness, a life of eternal peace!
Calming the disciples fears the risen Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Jn 19:20
Yet what feeling is described as the peace Jesus speaks of? Isn’t the often asked for cliché of “world peace” more than just the absence of war, of conflict and of fighting? Isn’t that peace more aptly represented by our own internal desires not to fear, for our hearts to have peace within us, a peace represented by the absence of worry, stress and anxiety?
I think the peace I feel in my heart is achieved directly in proportion to how much trust I place in God. The more I trust what God wants me to do, the easier I can accept the things I have to do; and the more I accept and trust the direction that God leads my life, the less I am afraid that my decisions will not bear His fruit in the outcomes.
Because trying to find peace by myself, trying to control how those around me act or react to situations, trying to control the forces of nature, even trying to control how my computer will react to my commands – is really beyond my control.
And if I think I have control, I will quickly find out otherwise –by a virus of some sort: the virus of illness, the virus of computer technology, even the virus of a friend or clients frustrations.
While at certain times I might think otherwise, the bigger influence, the biggest influence, the only one that has complete and total control, of my life and this world, is God. Therefore, He deserves my entire and unconditional trust. He is the only one who can give me peace of mind and peace of Spirit – a peace that allows me to accept what is beyond my personal choice, that which I cannot control.
The hope I entrust to God is that the daily choices I make will lead not to difficulty, turmoil or struggles for myself or others, but to an acceptance of whatever sacrifices I have to make to deal with those struggles and forces of nature; a hope for contentment, a removal of stress and a freeing of my mind because the burden of unmet expectations are placed in God’s trust. I hope and trust that God will give me peace on earth as well as eternal peace!
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. “Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” Ps 33: 20, 22 Amen.
May your faith and hope bring you peace in trusting God,
Blessings in Christ,

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