Unshakeable Peace

Opening the brown envelope, I see the black and white image for the first time. Many years have passed since this picture was taken. In fact, it has been more than 2 decades since the laughing man walked on the earth.

The remarkable part of the moment in time is the expression on the children’s faces. Young and vulnerable as they are, the boy and girl show no fear – only assurance and delight. Their daddy is with them to protect from all harm: roving coyotes, strangers who steal children, and loud sounds in the night. To be sure, they could fall down and skin a knee, but they know their daddy always makes the situation better.

Frequently frightened, Davey and Mary are confident in their safety. All is good because that man is near, and they belong to him. Whatever scary creatures come their way, will have to go through the smiling man who adores them first.

Though a child no longer -with extensive experience in the ups and downs of human life, disappointments have clouded my once optimistic attitude. My mind clicks through discouraging scenarios: world-wide wars, economic depression, killing diseases, shouting angry people everywhere, and once loving relationships now estranged. I glance again at the calm happiness on the children’s faces, and I envy the peace and joy I see.

Yet, I know my protector, Jesus Christ, is with me, and he is not a mere man.

Forgive me God for not looking for you in the situation; for not remembering you will never forsake me to issues too big for me to handle alone.

Forgive me, for choosing to worry rather than tell you my concerns. You encourage me with your words in the Bible, and I can talk to you in prayer. Sorry, I have acted like I have forgotten who I am and to Whom I belong!

All Powerful God,

Help me, Almighty God, to see you as you really are-Conquerer of evil, time, and isolation. The One who voluntarily gave up powers and abilities to live a human life filled with poverty, prejudice, and pain to secure my right to be called a child of God. The only human who was raised from death to sit beside His Father in heaven. The same One who lives now to help God’s children.

Help me, my Redeemer, to listen for your words of wisdom and encouragement. To remember that I am your sheep and belong to the Father. That no matter how overwhelmed I am, you know the way forward. Shepherd, you know I often think I know the way. Please pull me back to follow you instead.

My Lord, help me to show a childlike trust in you – whatever comes in life. I want my eyes to shine with joyful delight as I watch to see what you will do next. Because You are my peace…

Amen.

People were bringing children to Him so that He would touch and bless them, but the disciples reprimanded them and discouraged them [from coming]. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and He said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took the children [one by one] in His arms and blessed them [with kind, encouraging words], placing His hands on them. Mark 10; 13-16 Amplified

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, in everywhere you go; He is the One who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5,6 Message

I’ve told you all this so 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 Message

Really Know You

God of Everything,

Although I have never seen you with my eyes or heard your voice with my ears, I know with every bit of my being that you are real.

A few of my friends don’t believe you exist because their five senses have not reported your presence to their brain. It’s funny to me because it seems so paradoxical that they could believe in atoms, molecules, viruses, and black holes in space, yet refuse to accept an invisible God.

For years now, I have believed you are there, but I don’t know enough about you. I want to be acquainted with all your traits as I know my close friends like Joe.

Saying Joe’s name I immediately think of his blue green eyes, easy grin, teasing sense of humor, his direct way of speaking, a quick temper for injustice, and a compassionate heart for those who are ignored or abused. I know all this about someone I don’t even see that often. But about you, who are always with me, I actually perceive little.

Lord, you have a distinct personality, but for most of my life I have thought of you only by your titles – my benefactor, creator, the Heavenly Father that spoils me. In essence I only noticed you for what you could do for me. I call you my God. But I never cared enough to observe what motivates you, what you enjoy or what makes you angry. Have I hurt your feelings by my lack of interest in you?

Regretfully, I only cared about your ability to provide and protect me. In other words you only mattered because of your power to help the most important person in the world – me! What a lousy one-sided relationship this is -you initiate the closeness and do everything for me, yet I take your feelings and friendship for granted.

Forgive me Holy God. Help me to develop this end of our relationship, for I already know some of your characteristics:

The intricate elegance of earth’s environment you created shows me that you are an artist who enjoys color, texture, and contrasts. But I want to know more about you…

The fact that you would reach out to those who have rejected you over and over proves to me that you are extremely patient. But I want to know more about you…

The truth that you notice and love creatures far beneath your class is highly unusual. You offer membership in your close family when you are perfect, and I am so flawed which demonstrates an affection that dwarfs the most dedicated human love I have ever known. But I want to know more about you…

From the Old and New Testaments I see evidence that your high commitment to love is balanced with the same level of commitment to justice. Wrongs must be punished. The unsolvable riddle was how to love and accept humans into a relationship with you when they continued to do wrong. Still, even that problem didn’t stump you…

Perfect love and perfect justice needs were met when your son, Jesus Christ, lived a human life without ever doing one thing wrong, was punished by a criminal’s death, and rose from the dead to sit at your side once more. His sinless life could then redeem my sinful life to become your child. I see how his good could substitute for my bad, but I am amazed that you would solve this unsolvable problem by suffering the death of your son. The mystery of your love for me drives me to evolve because you have invested so much in my adoption.

Father, would you correct and adjust my sight to really see and know you for your unique personality traits?

When I read the Bible, please help me notice your subtleties described in your Son’s words or in your dealings with other humans.

As I bring you my worries or failures in prayer, help me hear and apply your words in my heart and actions.

Please see that I want to grow closer to you. Help me to be a person that projects respect and love to you by more closely following the character pattern you left for me in Jesus Christ. Amen

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isaiah 55:8