Trials. Storms. Tribulations.
Between last Sunday’s sermon, my current Bible study, and a recent chat with a family member, this topic keeps popping up. I am no stranger to trials and tribulations. In fact, no one is. You are either about to enter a trial, in the middle of a trial, or just getting out of a trial.
But as I was reminded in my Bible study, The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer, we cannot survive the storms of life without God’s peace. And this peace that the Lord gives us is not the peace of the world (John 14:27). It surpasses all understanding and it guards our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). There is nothing like it. It is simply. perfect. peace.
The best thing about this perfect peace that the Lord gives is that it is given to us (John 14:27). A divine gift. We don’t have to ask for it. We just simply have to perceive it and receive it. I. just. love. that. This realization led me to change the way I pray for peace. Instead of asking for peace, I ask God to help me experience His peace.
I learned in Priscilla’s study, however, that there’s a little more to receiving God’s peace. I have to “cultivate and activate” peace in my life (p. 110) by giving thanks. Showing gratitude. It actually says this in Philippians 4:6-7 and it seems so silly that I didn’t fully grasp that until Priscilla put it plainly. “When we choose thankful prayer over wallowing in anxiety and worry, we are demonstrating an unwavering trust in God…to override and overcome even the most difficult issues” (p. 111). And when we show God this kind of faith, He responds by activating His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding within us.
That is something to smile about.
One of my favorite songs about trials encourages me to find God’s blessings in my trials. Blessings that we should turn around and give thanks to Him for having a masterful plan for our lives. For working all things for our good just because we love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). I translated this song, Blessings by Laura Story, a few years ago for my mom, and some of you may have seen it before, but I’ve made an updated version for this post.
So in the midst of my trials, I will strive to rejoice in God’s presence, be thankful in His faithfulness and blessings, and wait for Him to activate His peace. His perfect peace.