So this past evening can only be described as one of those moments were God clearly said to me OK - WATCH THIS - PAY ATTENTION, WE HAVE STUFF TO TAKE CARE OF MY DEAR DAUGHTER.
The last couple of weeks have been stacked full of some of the longest and most stress and conflict prone days I have faced in quite a long time. I sent out an email that ended "pray for me please, it's been a long day". The instant reply was "it's only 10:15am." I wasn't really sure that God was paying much attention so I decided to fill Him in on the glorious details that He may have missed. I am hormonal. I am sleep deprived (Matt's working midnights - so neither of us are sleeping well) There is tooth drama, family health concerns, people issues, car problems. My days are not filled with the things we in the average chick flick. No music in the background, no pathway of rose petals, just real life with 19 loads of dirty laundry and dishes that don't wash themselves. My journey is full of people who are sometimes just like me. They are fighting, kicking and running themselves ragged just trying to keep their heads above the watery complications of life, depending on the strength of self instead of the provision of God. And all of their splashing and thrashing is making waves that are intensifying the rocking my own cute little boat.
Today I began my assigned reading for the next 2 weeks in a study group that has just started to "Journey thru the Book of James". Since I am the one that gave the homework, I knew what it was - the second half of the first chapter. You know the "quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry for mans anger does not bring about the righteousness God desires" part. Then as part of our preparation for spiritual revival, there was corporate prayer at the church this evening. Prayer is foundational, fundamental and not optional in the life a Jesus follower. And let me tell you we prayed... we cried out to God to dwell in our hearts; we sought God's power and wisdom and revelation; we petitioned for our church family to grasp how wide and long and and high and deep is the love of Jesus and to be rooted and established in His love; we hunger to know His love that surpasses knowledge and to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:13-19) We prayed for our church, for our leaders, for our family and our community. And God said to me "Give me that person, that problem, that worry. I got it. Be filled with my love, my power, my indwelling." When God's love fills my heart, my mind, my soul - there is no room for anger, fear or doubt. For me there was Peace, a calm that only God could provide. Nothing had changed - except me.
Then I came home, did the wrap up the night thing, made Matt's dinner and sent him off to work. Said goodnight to the boys in stages, as they each made the long treck from the TV or computer to the bedroom. Started the dishwasher, returned a few emails, shuffled the 12th or perhaps the 13th load of laundry for the day and then finally did what I should have done first thing this morning. With no excuses left, no chores or children calling my name, I turned off the noise of the day and opened up my personal study on the names of God. Today's name - which I read for the first time tonight is Jehovah Shalom - My God is Peace! The note says "not a peace found in any situation, but in the person hood of God. Not the absence of conflict but the relationship I have with God in the midst of trials, difficulties or hard times."
Well look at that. He did know. My God is the God of Peace. This is a promise and a statement of fact. A unique name of God given to Gideon in the midst of a faith changing moment. Gideon had chosen to set conventional wisdom aside and fully surrender to the will and way of God. Moreover, God's way did not fit nicely into a predictable pattern of conflict resolution or cost/benefit analysis. And He didn't wave a magic wand and poof the the issues that Gideon faced away - there was real work to be done, but it was God's work done God's way. So I wont sit around and wait for God to wave some random magic wand in my direction either. Problems will continue to roll my direction from time to time, unexpected hardship will creep up. But at the end of the day I know that regardless of how wind whipped and tossed around I feel, God is holding me safely in His hands;there is love; I am calm;there is peace; He is my peace.