As many of you know, we have talked about having peace in the midst of pain and illness in the room many times. These thoughts come out of those discussions -- they're not not all from me. It's amazing how God can work in a chat room!
It is, of course, a subject close to my heart... So many chronically ill Christians are hurting because they think if they believed better, they would be healed -- or if they prayed right or something. At least they keep hearing that from Christian friends. And whether or not they quite believe that, they may well feel like God's put them on a shelf. It's a really tough place to be, feeling God has rejected you on top of the pain and limitations of the illness itself.
So how do we find peace? The first thing that helped me was in the old chat room, when someone reminded me that God loves my son more than I do. He was not quite 13, and I was feeling that my illness had hurt him by preventing me from caring for him as I want to. The reminder helped me realize that while my illness might limit what I can do with him, God was looking out for him, too. I could trust God with him.
Then I started thinking about Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.God wants us to talk to Him and tell Him everything we're worried about. We thank Him for the good things in our lives and cling to the things about God that we know are true, echoing Peter:
Lord, where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life. (paraphrasing John 6:68)God moves and He gives us peace as we trust Him -- and His peace doesn't depend on us understanding why things happen or on us praying exactly the right way... God meets us more than half way!
The peace that Jesus gives is peace in our core that is there, even if chaos is swirling around us, it doesn't have to touch us. But we're human and when a new limitation or symptom appears or when some other trial comes along, we can become worried and fearful again. Like Peter walking on water, we get distracted by the chaos. Look back to Jesus, talk to the Him and to friends... Sometimes we need to see love "with skin on". Friends even in a chat room have been a real blessing, helping me so much by connecting with others who understand.
Do we always have peace? No... But God's grace is amazing.
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