Monday, August 6, 2018
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3 – 4 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
There is one more significant part of prayer that we must discuss, and it is something God taught me experientially during the week following my mother’s death years ago. So many times, when we pray, even when we pray properly using prayers of praise, thanksgiving, confession, repentance, and request, we tend to stop before we pray for the peace of God. We miss such a great blessing when we fail to wait on the Lord to fill us with His peace that passes all understanding.
When my wife and I arrived in South Dakota the day after my mother was transferred to glory, I knew that in two days I would be standing in front of all of our family and friends and officiating at her memorial service. I knew that I should be stressed and uneasy as I considered the possibilities of emotional breakdowns during the service. I knew that in my flesh I should be worried that I would adequately represent the beauty of my mom’s life to everyone present. I expected that walking into my mom’s room for the first time without her present would be excruciating. I thought that reflecting on all the ways that I missed her would bring a constant flow of tears to my eyes. I believed that we would have to try and put up a good front of strength when in reality we were crushed by this loss.
But none of that happened. I do not claim to understand what the Bible says transcends all understanding: all I know is that I experienced the peace of God! It was a powerful experience to stand in front of several hundred people and lead a memorial service to the woman who gave me life, and to do it with joy and celebration rather than grieving and loss.
The experience of God’s peace was the product of prayer that ended in total trust and surrender to God’s outcome. Whenever I would shift my focus from the eternal to the earthly, the tears would start and the experience of loss would overwhelm me. At those moments, only one thing was necessary for me – to think of the glory of heaven and the perfection of the saints in God’s presence. Immediately the tears would end and the joy of the Lord would restore my spirit. His peace guarded my heart and my mind because I had chosen to trust Him.
One morning, while my brother Paul and I took dad around town to finish up some necessary business, we stopped at the grave of my mom to see the marker that had been placed there by the funeral home. I wanted to see the place from which my mom’s body would someday rise incorruptible. When I thought of her body in that grave, I cried. When I heard my dad say, “She isn’t here,” my heart leaped for joy. I can trust the Eternal Father to bring His glorious conclusion to all of earth’s suffering. No matter what the circumstances, my mind remains steadfast and at peace, because I trust Him.
When we pray about anything, it is imperative that we conclude our prayers with a time of listening and waiting – listening for God’s response and waiting for God’s peace. When we do not, we are as foolish as the person who walks into a fast food restaurant, orders his food, pays for it, and then leaves before receiving it. He goes away hungry and penniless. When we don’t wait for God to fill the order for peace, we are still spiritually hungry because we have not received God’s nourishment. We must wait for His assuring voice that He has it under control and His Spirit of peace that passes all understanding.
Don’t rush through your prayer time and then hurry on to the next event on your calendar. Take time to be still, and know that He is God. He will keep you in perfect peace.