While it seems to be “the holiday goal,” peace isn’t always easy to come by this time of year. Often, we have to make the time to pursue it—to intentionally cultivate it in our life. If we do, it can be such a beautiful leg on the journey toward growing more spiritually wise.
We hope you’re choosing this moment in your life to be with Jesus and see peace through His eyes. Life is busy, chaotic and full, but we pray that today, this would be a sacred space, and that when you leave, you would indeed feel more at peace.
— Cultivate Peace Through Trials —
As a child I struggled with trust. Those closest to me failed to exhibit behavior conducive to that of trusting relationship; they failed to make me feel safe and fully loved. I am NOT blaming them, but I am explaining why a lack of trust in those closest to me carried over into my relationship with God. Trusting God was hard for me, and still is if I’m being REAL.
I spent my eager, young Christian days building my scriptural arsenal for the trials that were promised to come my way. I read, memorized, wrote, plastered verses on 3×5 cards on the bathroom mirror, sent them to friends in cards to encourage them, and waited for my day of heartache to arrive. With my verses, I would slay that trial just like David did to Goliath. No weapon formed against me will prosper! Take that devil! Bam!
That day arrived, friends. I got that dreaded phone call that took me from the mountain to the pit in 2.5 seconds. Although mini-trials were as normal as the sun that rises, the Big Kahuna came with a wind-knocking-blow to the chest. I couldn’t breathe as my pastor friend revealed news about his son. News that I knew was also about my son. They caught him using heroine.
Now, before you get your judging juices flowing, this is still so hard to share even 8 years in. I’m still tearfully shaking as I type, because I care too much what others think. In my honest vulnerability here are some things I learned the day my son skipped right over beer and pot and went straight for the big guns named heroine & oxycontin:
You can do many things right and things still go terribly wrong.
When they do go wrong, we are still supposed to have peace as Jesus’ followers, right?
Well, that depends on where your trust lies. Is it in you or is it in God?
“I’ve told you all this that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.
In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.
But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
John 16:33 MSG
As Jacob wrestled with God for 24 hours, I wrestled with Him for 2 years because darn it, this was not my plan for my son. I was going to do ALL I COULD to save him! Key phrase: All I could.
Friends, I started to chart the way to save my son with all the things a mom could do, and quite honestly there was NO PEACE. There was anything but peace. It took 48 months of exhausting my resources, sitting in doctors offices being told I am depressed and need medication, in order for me to finally hold up the white flag of surrender.
And that’s the day it came. I completely relinquished control and released my son to the God that created Him. I said in my heart and head, “I have to trust You with him. He is yours and You have to do what only You can do in him.”
As my son drove away, at 18-years-old, in his 1969 VW bus, destination unknown, I waved goodbye with a peace that only God could give. I shouldn’t of had peace at that moment with so much uncertainty, so much unsecured, but I did.
The key to peace is to surrender with full trust.
It does not have to take 2 years, my friends. It’s really up to us how long it takes. Unfortunately for us, this was a trial of seismic humiliation and we walked it pretty much alone, because “real” wasn’t the mantra at our former church. The beauty of being at Sandals, where the emphasis is on being real, is the ability to share your stuff. If we would have been in community where this was dealt with and prayed over, my wrestling may have been shortened.
Here’s my encouragement to you: Do not hide when satan sucker punches you or your family. Get with people you trust to help carry the load of pain. Speak truths that will help bring peace.
Peace is a promise that is delivered, maybe not right when we order it, but it does come. To all my suffering readers, cling to Him. He is your peace and He is the peace giver.
LET’S DIG DEEPER:
- Take a few moments right now to still your heart before God. Are you holding onto something that you need to surrender with trust – a hurt, worry, doubt or fear – maybe even a relationship conflict? Hand that burden over to God and ask Him to begin to replace it with peace in your heart.
- Peace doesn’t mean you’ll no longer think or even worry about your situation, it just means you are purposefully surrendering your trial or suffering over to the One who can do something about it. Do you believe God can do something about your trial? Look up these verses to help your answer. Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:18, 28, 31; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Psalm 118:6; Psalm 30:5b
- Who are the people in your life that help carry your load? As a first step, invite them into your trial or worry and ask them to pray for you. Maybe you simply thank them for being your people. When you’re ready, have a real conversation about how they can support you and even hold you accountable to actively pursuing peace.
If you or or a member of your family needs help, we at Sandals Church are here for you. You’re invited to join us on the weekends where our pastors and ministers can provide a safe place for you to be real. You can also connect with us here to be contacted by a member of our Soul Care team for prayer. If you’re ready to connect in community, you can join a group here.
Diane Huntsman is the Cultivate Ministry Partner for Sandals East Valley campus. She’s a wife of 31 years, mom to 4 adult children and Grammy to her 3 gifts. She is in love with Jesus and determined to use all her mistakes, messes and years of living to help women in all seasons to make this life count for eternity. Diane has served in different women’s ministries for 25 years and desires to leave a legacy of loving Jesus to the max. She enjoys all things outdoors, hates running and burpies but loves to make her body do all the things her mind says it shouldn’t do. You can find her on her porch some days, and wishing she was there on all the rest.