Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Perfect Peace? Not This Woman!


The past two nights I haven’t slept very well. I have tossed and turned, woke up off and on, and then tossed and turned some more. This morning, at 3:00 a.m. I was up again. I asked for prayer yesterday because I was finding myself in a “funk”. I didn’t understand why because so far everything has been going well. I have been knocking out all the projects for VBS, staying on top of Children’s Ministry as well as getting to the church on time each week to clean. (I know, I have a lot on my plate lately). But for some reason, sleep was not one of the entrees.
                A few days ago, I read a scripture on a Facebook post. “He keeps them in perfect peace.” I kept telling myself that God was keeping me at peace, that He was keeping my heart rested and peaceful. And in some respects, He was. However, I found myself in Isaiah 26:3 this morning, and the Lord showed me why I was not sleeping at night. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
                My restlessness was due to my anxiety, and I was not keeping my mind stayed upon Him. I was putting on a pretty good show for everyone, but my heart was not and is not lining up with my words. God has a way of showing me my heart, our hearts, when we seek Him out. And I have to ask forgiveness for not walking a truthful walk towards all those whom I said, “I was in perfect peace.” I wasn’t, and I am still struggling with it a little.
                I want so badly for our first VBS to be so great that I am getting in the way of what God wants to do. I am worrying that we won’t have enough children come, I am worrying that we ordered too many t-shirts and the cost will be higher than what the church can afford. I am worried that the kids won’t like the crafts, or the worship, or the games, or the lessons. I was up at 3:00 a.m. looking into some other craft options- just in case. But the key word the Lord showed me this morning is “I”- there is no “I” in this VBS. This is His VBS. I say that very boldly, because He wrote it, He gave me a picture in my head and gave me the words and the activities and the design and the lessons to give our children a VBS. I only pounded out the words on my keyboard that He directed me to. So why now am I trying to take control of the whole thing, when He is the only one that can make something out of nothing?  
                The Lord showed me this morning that if I want “peace” if I desire that “perfect peace” that He promises to me, then I need to do one thing and one thing only. I need to “keep my mind stayed on Him,” but how do I do that? To keep my “mind stayed” on Him means that every time I start to worry or fret about the who, what, where and when of VBS, I need to get somewhere and focus all my meditation and my thoughts upon Him. I need to lean upon Him and Him alone. The opposite of peace is worry. So when I find myself worrying over the little things, it is because I do not trust Him to do the work that He has already promised to do.
                Pastor Chuck Smith stated in one of his sermons that “perfect peace” means no inner turmoil, no frantic frenzy of activity, no anxiety or worry, no striving, but a perfect rest, an inner quietness. How do we get that “perfect peace”? How do I stop being the “Martha Mind” and begin to keep my mind stayed on God? I take Paul’s advice and put it to practice in my life.
                Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 “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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I need to go to my God in prayer and let Him take all my anxiety, giving thanks for the work that He desires to do, and pour out all my fears, my troubles, my worries and my “to-do’s” to Him. One commentary I read said that, “Those that trust in God must have their minds stayed upon Him, must trust Him at all times, under all events, must firmly and faithfully adhere to Him; with an entire satisfaction in Him; and such as do so God will keep in perpetual peace, and that peace shall keep them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible)
                The peace that I am seeking as I toss and turn upon my bed at night is only found in God, through Jesus Christ. I need to let go of VBS and let God do the work. Are there things that still need to be done, yes- a few minor details. Are there going to be enough children to come? Maybe, but that is not up to me. God knows each heart, each child that is going to come and He will do the work in their hearts that He desires to do. Will the children have fun and learn God’s word? Yes, as long as I step out of the way and let Him do the work. Will the cost be more than it should? Possibly, but the Lord God shall supply all our need according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
                The best way to combat worry and anxiety is to use the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6) When those thoughts start coming up in my mind, when worry and anxiety start to take over in my heart, I need to recognize that I am getting in the way and fight back with the Word of God, His promises, His desires, His Word alone.
                Pastor Chuck Smith also stated that “perfect peace” cannot be attained if our minds are on what we want, what we desire. Perfect peace is not a mental state we achieve; it is God’s work in us. God’s part is the “perfect peace” our part is to keep our minds stayed on Him. If I do my part, I can be sure that God will do His. (Blue Letter Bible Chuck Smith Sermon Notes) I was convicted this morning because I was trying to do the work and not letting Him do the work through me. I was trying to do it all for His glory, when He is asking me to stop getting in the way and He will “supply all our needs” He will make the picture He gave me come to pass.
                My “job” is to keep my mind stayed on Him and stop worrying about it. God basically told me this morning, “No worries, I got this.” And in His Word I put my trust. We all have something in our lives that we are worried about, or that we find ourselves fretting about. Today, may we all combat that worry with His word, keeping our minds stayed on the One True God who created something out of nothing, and will complete the work He has set forth because He is true and He is faithful and His promises are sure, we can stand upon them, lean upon them and rest in them all.
                May the God of peace give you comfort and strength today. May His word bless you richly, and may you keep your mind stayed upon Him. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Amen and Amen.