PEACE IN THE MIDST OF TROUBLE, PART 4
By Tierce Green
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." – Jesus (John 16:33)
Jesus promises peace, and he promises trouble. Not peace or trouble, but peace in the midst of trouble. While it helps to understand the context of trouble—why life sometimes hurts and how trouble can be used for our good—the peace Jesus promises transcends our understanding and explanations.
Don’t look for his peace in an explanation for trouble. Analyzing what is happening can broaden our perspective, and attempting to explain it may bring temporary relief, but it won't deliver the deep satisfaction we need. It’s okay to ask why and to speculate, but the peace Jesus promised cannot be found in an explanation for the trouble.
It has been said said that you can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. Correctly calibrating our sails not only helps us ride out the storm, it enables us to find peace in the midst of the storm. Learn to calibrate your sails to these three things:
 THE PEACE OF GOD IS FOUND IN THE SON OF GOD. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have peace.” It’s okay to ask questions and consider why life is hurting, but focus on the location of the peace that Jesus promised. It is found in him. Jesus invites us to follow him, not the religion of Christianity. The religion of Christianity is more about behavior modification and an appreciation of Jesus. But following Jesus is personal, relational and real. It is in this relationship that we find peace with God and discover the peace of God.
Rather than seeking a satisfying answer to your questions, seek him. Rather than running to a logical explanation for the crisis, disappointment, or hurt—run to him. The idea of running to Jesus may seem abstract, but it is in this beautiful mystery, in his presence, that we discover his peace.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.
Can we experience a level of peace apart from a relationship with Jesus? Of course we can. But it is connected to and directed by circumstances. His peace is substantive and satisfying. It is in a category by itself. This peace is exactly where Jesus said it would be: “I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have peace.”
 THE PEACE OF GOD IS FOUND IN THE WORD OF GOD. In Isaiah 55:9 God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God reveals his ways and his thoughts in his Word. It positions us to see his perspective and understand his purpose. It reminds us of who Jesus really is, and that is crucial because we tend to see him through cultural and religious filters. We construct a safe Jesus, or an angry Jesus, or a social justice Jesus from our personal preferences. God’s Word deconstructs our sometimes inaccurate and self-serving philosophies of life, exposing what hurts us and prescribing what helps us.
The Word of God brings comfort and guidance. Systematically reading through it is best, but even random samplings reveal how timely and specific it can be to provide healing and help us navigate through this life.
… If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. (Psalms 119:92-93)
 THE PEACE OF GOD IS FOUND IN TIME ALONE WITH GOD. Jesus modeled this practice when he would withdraw from the crowds to spend time alone with the Father. If he needed it, how much more do we? Making time and taking time to process, to pray, to allow God to bring order to your thoughts, to listen to his voice, to train your heart to trust and obey. There is comfort and peace in time alone with God.
You can only drive so far on a tank of gas. At some point you will need to exit the freeway and find a gas station. Admitting that you need to refill your tank is not enough. Identifying a gas station is not enough. Circling the pumps and discussing how much you need gas would be ridiculous. You must pull up to the correct pump, turn off your engine, get out of the car … and refuel. This may take awhile depending on how empty your tank is. This is all part of the journey. This practice will keep you from being stranded on the side of the road and help you arrive at your destination.
Running on empty will suck the peace of God right out of us. Smart, driven, high-energy, competitive guys are notorious for running on fumes. Quiet, pensive, analytical, dreamers are not automatically given to time alone with God. Sometimes they are just lost in their own thoughts. All of us must make a daily choice to spend time alone with God. That is where his Word becomes personal, the presence of Jesus is real, and his peace becomes yours even in the midst of trouble.
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. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Watch Jimmy Needham’s cover of Clear the Stage by Ross King. God has used it many times in my life to direct my thoughts, helping me to clear the stage and create space for him to do what only he can do.