I remember the day when I found out. I wanted to run but didn’t know where, I wanted to talk to someone but didn’t know who.
"I felt totally, alone, abandoned, hurt, rejected, angry,
frightened and numb."
My circumstances were devastating and life changing. Maybe you feel like that now. The bible tells us over one hundred times, do not be anxious, do not be afraid and do not worry but we still do it.
So where did I go? In the first few days, I honestly blundered about in my own self pity, angry, why should this happen to me?! But why shouldn’t it? Does the bible say that trouble won’t come along? It is in these stormy times we ask, where is God? When our lives are going well we can forget God. Our lives will be turned upside down to bring us back to him and in those times we can know peace. Peace, as talked about in the bible, isn’t an absence of trouble. Biblical peace is unrelated to circumstances. When life is dragging you down, when circumstances seem out of control, how do we avoid worrying, how do we control our fear, where we do we go when we can’t take any more? Where is your refuge? Where was my refuge?
My refuge wasn’t where it should have been. Where is yours? Your health, your job, your family, your friends, your husband (your wife)?
"God took my misplaced refuge away, overnight it was gone.
If our refuge is not in God, it is not safe."
God wants us to go to him. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. I had nowhere to turn but to God. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3. Over the next few weeks and months, I plunged into Gods word like never before. I drank up the words on the pages, I was thirsty for God. I was in the midst of a raging storm and yet I had peace, how? I don’t know, it really was beyond all understanding!
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, rejoice”. A bizarre verse when we’re struggling but we must, even more so now, this is a verse that says, stop, don’t panic! Calm down, listen calm down! The storm we are going through is taking over our life, filling our heads with negative thoughts and lies!
"God says “stop, turn around, look at me!..."
Focus on me, rejoice in me always, I will say it again rejoice!” Paul isn’t writing these verses when he is having a great time, he is in prison under Roman guard with a possible death sentence. His future is uncertain and his life is uncertain. He the goes on to say “Do not me anxious about anything, 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 heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. So while we are spending time in prayer thanking God, what happens to us? The peace of a God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
"Worry is gone! Really? Yes! How? I don’t know how,
I can only testify that it is true."
Paul tells us here that it “surpasses all understanding” BUT, it comes after thanksgiving. It comes after focusing on God, not me!
God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want but he always answers in the way we need. The plan God has for our life is never plan B, nothing went wrong, We have a sovereign God. Have I enjoyed the path that my life took, no, not all the time. Would I change it? No, I have learnt so much about myself and more importantly, more about my God and to trust in him alone. I don’t believe my difficult journey is over, I still have a lot to learn. I want to reassure you, if you are on a journey that isn’t comfortable, let God change you, let God comfort you. Let him be your refuge and a place of peace. Come to God and rejoice, come to God in thankfulness, ask him and you will find peace that surpasses all understanding.
As I took those first steps in those first few days when I felt alone, abandoned, hurt, rejected, angry and frightened, I felt nobody knew how I felt... but Jesus did. He knew exactly what is was like and
"...who better to go to than Jesus for comfort."
All our storms are different but we can all trust the same God for help. God was there in Paul’s storm, he is with me in mine and he will be with you in yours.
God wants us to....
Trust him for anything. Philippians 4:6a Don’t be anxious about anything
Pray to him for everything. Philippians 4:6b but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God