With the rat race so many of us run, we feel like we are on a gerbil wheel that runs itself, at a rate faster than we are capable of running. We hurry scurry through rush hour traffic, dodging slow cars, navigating detours just to do something similar at work. Others of us live what many would consider mundane, getting up to send the kids off for school, change the baby, do laundry, run errands, clean up messes, then take the kids to lessons or practices after school. Exhausted, we collapse into bed thinking, “Lord, I am so tired! When will this end?” The wheel keeps churning round and round.
Others suddenly find themselves in the midst of life changes during the wheel grinding for it to come to a screeching halt. Someone’s husband has been having affairs and the deed has been found out. Another reads the test results: Cancer. While yet another loses a wife, left to grieve alone, but puts on the “business face” because the show must go on. All the while, each one wonders, “Why, Lord?. The pain is excruciating; if only it would stop. Inside of all of us, there is a deep yearning for peace that seems elusive, unobtainable.
I was pondering what tidbit of God’s Word to bring you this time. I offered up the little bit of thought and God delivered: Peace. So many thoughts of people and personal experiences swirled in my head like the snowflakes outside right now. May this not be trite to you; instead, may it lift you up.
I was one of those running the rat race with three kids going to school and coming home, needing rides, etc. I worked at a local YMCA on a daily basis and supported my first husband’s ministry in a church renewal. 50-60 hours a week of my time plus being a wife and mother. My husband worked 70-80 hours between a full-time secular job and pastoring the tiny aging congregation. We crashed into bed at night so utterly exhausted thanking God for leading us through yet another day.
Two kids had married and moved out of the house while the third began her studies at a local college. At the wedding of the first one, my husband had some routine medical tests done requiring further investigation. On the following Monday after our son’s wedding, we received scary news: colon cancer stage 4. This was the beginning of a grueling four years that solidified our love for each other and our faith in God. Toward the end of his of battle with terminal cancer, we were serving in another church. He was admitted to the hospital in serious condition, then entered into hospice for three painful days. My youngest daughter was going through an ordeal in the hospital at the same time almost four hours away. I felt so torn about where I should be. My world crashed around me when I woke up one morning in his room at the hospice center to find him dead and cold. His face was so peaceful.
What now? I thought. It was as though someone ripped my heart out of my chest. Peace for me seemed so far out of reach. Yet God delivered peace through friends and family. They stood and prayed with me while he was dying and they checked in on me afterward. He put so many people in all the right places at the right time for me. God provided for all my needs.
How about you? Are you running the rat race empty of energy? Are you frustrated with the constant drone of the mundane? Has life come to a crash around you? God offers you peace in all of this.
Psalm 23 is the picture of what we long for. We try to find it in pictures with quite streams, ocean views, or picturesque lakes. There is something tranquil about a body of water at rest. We try to get that by going to the lake for the weekend or heading to the beach for a vacation. Such things are only temporary. What we are seeking is the peace that only the Living Water, Jesus, can give us.
If you notice in this passage, God doesn't take away the struggles, but gives us peace and safety in the midst of those struggles. He offers us His rest. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 In Isaiah 40:31, God's Word says,
"But those who wait on the Lord
shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."
This is not a promise of no problems. It is a promise that He is with us through our "stuff". We have to hang onto His promises until eternity with Him in Revelation 21. Those of us who know Christ as our Savior will spend eternity with God where there is no evil, no pain, no problems. He will be our light and there will be a glassy sea with the Fountain of the Water of Life. In Revelation 22 the River of Life runs through New Jerusalem. The Tree of Life will be there, which was taken away from Adam and Eve due to their sin when they were cast away from the Garden of Eden. Can you imagine basking in the glow of the light emanating from Christ Himself? Do you see yourself at peace standing by the River of Life as you sing praises to God with no fear, shame or pain? How awesome is that?
You can have the peace that Jesus offers today. Claim it for yourself because, if you are in Christ, it is yours. I remember a woman who was in my Sunday School class. She waited until people left afterward as I put things away. She told me about her stresses, of how her boyfriend was in prison after making a very bad decision. She struggled with so much. One day, she was doing something mundane- putting gas in her car. In her spirit, God gave her a present and told her to take it. She clung to it tightly afraid of losing it, yet not knowing what it was. As she spoke, God told me to tell her, "Tell her to open it. Her gift is peace." So I told her what God told me. She cried tears of joy and laughed! God has a gift for you, too. It is peace.
If you don't know Jesus, you are alone with no one to carry you through the tough stuff of life. Why? You haven't invited Him into your life. Why not ask Him to be your Savior? Give Him charge of your life right now? He wants so much to give you peace in the stuff of your life.
For those of us in Christ, open His gift of peace. Rest in it. He's got you in the palm of His hand.
May God bless you!