Fighting for Peace

I wrote last week about how I believe the best is yet to come. Wednesday, I spent a good part of the day journaling and talking to God about everything going on in my life these days. I already believed what I’d written the day before, but I reached an even deeper place of peace and assurance that God truly has incredible things in store.

And then Thursday came. The potential disappointment I’d mentioned in last week’s post suddenly seemed like more of a probability than a possibility; I didn’t handle the thought well. The peace I had just a few hours before seemed nonexistent, and I became a bit of an emotional wreck for the afternoon.

As I pulled out my journal once again, the first lines I wrote were: “It’s amazing how often one must fight for peace… It seems like an oxymoron, but it’s true.” I have no idea where those words came from, but they’ve had me thinking ever since. So many times I think of peace as the absence of struggle, but often it seems like a war within to stay in a place of peace.

Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He is our source of peace no matter what is happening in the world, but it can be a battle to remain connected to that source when it seems the world is falling apart around us.

Paul encouraged the Philippians (4:4-8), “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This is how we “fight” for peace. We take thoughts captive, every minute if necessary, and remind ourselves of truth. We rejoice always in Who our God is and the fact He is with us. We dwell in Him and fix our eyes on Him instead of on our circumstances. We present our needs and desires to Him and trust He will accomplish what concerns us, even if it isn’t in the way we expect.

I may have more emotional moments in the coming months as I wait to see what unfolds. But today, I’m in a place of peace. Tomorrow may bring a battle to stay there, but I know the weapons needed for the fight. I will rejoice in God and fix my thoughts on His truth, knowing wherever I am and whatever happens, the best is still ahead!

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Winter is past.

Calry Tulips (2)

A friend of mine was praying for me a couple of weeks ago, and God gave her a picture of me walking through a field of tulips. In the picture, someone walking in front of me would occasionally pick a tulip and hand it to me, and this continued until I had a nice bouquet. She also heard the phrase, “the winter is past.”

This seemed significant to me because one of the verses hanging on the door of my wardrobe says that very thing. Song of Songs 2:10-12 says, “My Beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.’”

I am ready for Spring, the season of new life and new beginnings! However, as we are nearing the celebration of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, I am reminded that this season of new life is dependent on the season before it. Just as Jesus had to die and be buried before we could celebrate His resurrection, the seeds have to fall and be buried before they can begin to grow and bring new life to the earth. The times of rain are necessary for the appearance of flowers on the earth.

Perhaps the past season of your life has been a difficult one filled with long, dark nights and with mourning buried dreams. Hold on. Winter is past. The time of singing has come! Perhaps it feels like you are just entering a “winter” season; maybe it seems like everything around you is falling to the ground and the night is growing darker and longer. Hold on. Winter will pass, and the time of singing will come again.

Whatever season of life you find yourself living in today, make the most of it. Be aware of the beauty that can be seen in every phase of life. Whether our lives are full of new growth, “burials”, or anything in between, there is beauty to be found if we will look for it. It may be easier to sing as the days get brighter, but the songs sung in the winter may be the most beautiful we ever sing.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:4-7.

I pray whatever season you’re in now, that God will open your eyes to the blessings and beauty surrounding you in the midst of it, that His love and grace will carry you through, and that your song will bring glory to Him and joy to many.