“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
There are times when life becomes overwhelming, times that remind us of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” During such periods, I cannot be comforted nor consoled by any other than the Wonderful Counselor. Only He can calm the agony of my heart.
I find my way to the lake, my quiet place, and sit alone and look at God’s creation before me. The water, silent and smooth, is a picture of tranquility. I am drawn here because the serenity of the lake soothes me, it is a salve to my anxious and troubled soul. In my solitude I cry to God out of the depths of my drought, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
Captivated by the scene, I am reminded of God’s sovereignty as I watch the setting sun. “He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down” (Psalm 104:19). The God that controls the sun and the moon is the same God that controls the vicissitudes of my life.
This omniscient God knows and understands my brokenness. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
I come before the throne of God, the words flowing out of the depths of my distress, they are raw, unrestrained and uncensored. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The cords that tether me to my sorrow are severed through prayer. The comfort provided by family and friends is blessed indeed, but as precious as these tender mercies are, mortal beings cannot provide the divine solace that comes from God alone. Jesus understood this, as God’s Word reveals: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
Although the circumstances that brought me low remained unchanged, there came a deep sense of rest and resolve. As I placed the uncontrollable concerns into the hands of God, peace began to flood my soul. Knowing that my burden was not mine to carry alone, I felt relieved, renewed and hopeful. “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).
During those occasions when overcome by diverse trials and tribulations, we find that we are deeply comforted simply by the sight of a loved one or by hearing their familiar voice. How much more then are we comforted by our “Abba” Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, our strength and our shield. Our Lord is mighty in power and his understanding limitless and he deals with us like a father deals with his children (Psalm 147:5). We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield (Psalm 33:20).
Father God, ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ (Psalm 73:25,26). Lord, may we ever remember that you are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). So great is your unfailing love. In Christ’s name. Amen.