It had been a tiring few days and a crazy month as I looked back, with a lot to juggle and too many balls in the air. And the fire that disrupted thousands of lives in our county – but I’ll save that story for later.
Then I got blindsided. Another late night. Another restless night spent tossing, turning, thinking, praying, soul-searching… partly from the heat, partly from the unexpected.
O our God… we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. – 2 Chronicles 20:12
Testings come in many forms. Flaming darts from the enemy of our souls, and wrestlings with the opposition whose main objective is to keep me from God, attempt to lure me, to wander away from Him, and to derail me from reaching for the joy and peace that awaits. He’ll use anything he can to discourage, but God can redeem the experience for good in my life. To shape, to grow, to strengthen, to purify.
Ephesians 6 – Be strong in the Lord… I have no strength of my own. This is why He calls me to lean into His strength.
Take up your armor and Stand… He does not leave me defenseless or powerless. Even with an army camped all around me prepared for war, I can be confident in Him. And I can stand. (Psalm 27)
The belt of Truth… wrapped and buckled securely around my waist, keeping the clothing beneath the armor from getting tangled, and keeping me from discomfort and distraction.
The breastplate of Righteousness… all my vital organs protected by right doings, by my refusal to give in to the flesh.
Feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace… wherever I go, I am an ambassador of Heaven, ready to share the good news of Reconciliation.
The Shield of Faith… this body shield held close in front of me, always believing His Words while the enemy taunts. Like David on the field of battle.
Helmet of Salvation… from the top down, I am covered by the knowledge of this one thing: I belong to Him.
The whole armor… for deflecting the temptations and strategies of the evil one, that no part of my being is left vulnerable or exposed.
The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God… my only weapon, staying sharp by remembering His principles and promises, meditating, memorizing, applying.
Every morning I must choose to put on this armor – and to keep it on throughout the day. How sad to see a warrior slain or wounded, bleeding, while his armor hangs in the closet.
Praying always… without stopping. And watching, recognizing who the real enemy is. Resist and he will leave me alone.
Sleep did come that night, closer to morning actually – but I woke feeling rested. The Preacher had left earlier than usual to attend the weekly men’s Bible study in town, and I relished the quiet, looking forward to an entire day at home. Opening my eyes and enjoying the newness with the sunrise glowing on our hills, I felt a blanket of peace covering me. God’s embrace. Comfort from My Prince of Peace, falling lightly over my body and mind, and reassuring my heart.
I’ve got this, He whispered. No need to worry – just focus on your work today and rest in Me.
Not the first time He’s spoken in this way, and I’ve learned He means what He says. Ahh… The turmoil and confusion from the previous day and the past week was gone. And all I felt was peace.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
The peace of God from the God of peace. Overflowing and surpassing and available to me. Always.
I changed my position and began praying. Yes, I had many concerns to bring to Him, but also the strong desire to bask in the calm of His presence by lingering in conversation with my Everlasting Father, my Wonderful Counselor, my Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Delighting in the moments of being still… and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
Because He reigns, I can know His peace.
Let Me handle these things that bother and annoy or distract and trouble you, He so often tells me.
Other verses in this same Psalm bring more assurance.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord… Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
When God repeats Himself, I’m reminded to pay attention. He is with me, He is my refuge. Selah. Interlude. Be still and know…
He is my peace.
As long as I rested in this knowledge, I had His promise of a good day.
(photos courtesy of Pixabay)