God’s Peace, a Free Gift For Everyone
I awake in the morning to start my usual routine; make coffee, get the kids fed and ready for school. Except, school for us looks very different from the week before. I make absolutely sure I have completed my to-do list for the day as part of my prep. This way I don’t miss out on any of the small, yet important, things.
I even penciled in time for God. As I think, “Yes, I am going to nail this list today. I got everything covered” As my day goes on, the checkmarks of completion are flying onto the paper. “Whoohoo, I feel so productive.”
By the afternoon, my day took a turn for the worst. I get a phone call from the school nurse. “You must immediately come to pick up your daughter. She has been exposed to a covid positive person and must be placed on quarantine.”
My thoughts of having a wonderfully accomplished day are vanquished. The flood gates of worry and concern pour wide open. “Oh, No!! Who did she come in contact with?” I then begin to worry about protecting others from her exposure. My to-do list now canceled, like a bad sitcom show.
A day full of choices
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.” – Phillippians 4: 6-7
At the end of my day, I realized; I took on the stress of possibilities and I had let go of God’s goodness. As I made Him part of my to-do list, I made Him a little box that needed to get checked off, instead of making time with Him first.
I for one can always tell you that life is full of uncertainty. And God is the only factor that remains the same and yet I took my steadfast security blanket and moved Him to a different position other than first.
No matter our circumstances, God wants to give us a life full of purpose and hope. When we allow our lives to be wrapped up in a series of tasks, our focus changes. No longer are we present with God.
Decision after decision, our lives are filled with too many things that keep us busy. We create lists to make sure we have included everything. Forgetting the tiniest task is just as important as the big ones. Yet so often, we place God on that list as a reminder and He is often the one we forget to spend time with.
When tasks outweigh His goodness
His promises fade away with each new worry. Instead of growing closer to Him, we distance ourselves and our circumstances become our priorities.
God awaits our conversations with Him. Wanting a relationship with us, but we choose to bypass His gift of peace and continue to chat with the disturbances of each new day.
Lucky for us, Jesus knew that life for us would be difficult and He reminds us so, in the book of John. “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.” – John 16:33
Jesus is with us, even when our schedules are interrupted. By putting Him first, the interruptions don’t seem too alarming.
GOD’S PEACE IS A FREE GIFT TO ALL
Setting priorities and goals are always important, but when you don’t place God into your day, your focus becomes lost. Your gift of peace gets interrupted.
Peace is not a feeling that fluctuates as we move through our day. It is not an uncertain element. Oh, no! Peace was delivered to us through a person and not just any person, but the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus! Oh sweet, loving, peace-giving, Jesus!
When Jesus resides in our hearts and remains the focus of our daily lives, peace will reign.
The placement of your rocks make the difference
Long ago I picked up a book called First Things First, and in it was an analogy about rocks. While the focus of this story encourages us to set up our day around our biggest priorities, none prove bigger than a relationship with Christ Jesus.
Keeping Christ as the center of our focus will always result in hope for the future and assurance about the things we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
A heart hitting analogy
Stephen Covey, author, and business owner, was speaking to a large group of students. During this particular talk, he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him.
He says to the group, “okay, quiz time.“
He then took about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them into the jar. When the jar was full of rocks, he asks, “Is this jar full?” A unanimous reply, “yes“.
“Really?” he says back to them. He then reaches under the table and pulls out a bucket of gravel. Now dumping the gravel in, which causes each tiny piece to work themselves into the spaces between the big rocks.
“Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Good!” He reached under the table again, this time producing a bucket of sand. He began pouring the sand into the jar. As sand filled all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. He asks again, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted. “Good!” Now taking a pitcher of water from under the table, he poured. Water now filling to the brim of the jar. He asks, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One student said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!“
“No,” Mr. Covey replies, “that’s not the point. The truth of this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.“
“but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” – Proverbs 1:33 (NIV)
Peace, I leave with you
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
Now I ask you, have you made God a “big rock” in your life? Before reading this analogy, I am sure a few of us have said; “Yes”. But in reality, God was just the gravel being put into the jar after we have accomplished all our other tasks.
Even if you didn’t intend to, God slipped into second place. And then you wonder why your day broke down.
For when we have control, we lose everything, but when we give control to God, we have everything to gain. – Jen Schreiner
It is time to make room for Jesus, placing Him in our number one spot daily. As we take up His cross, the new worries will fade away, replaced with His loving promises for us.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for your presence in our lives. That you never give up or run away from your children when we have failed to make you a priority. Jesus, I ask that you help us, not rely on our daily to-do lists, but to trust in your greatness. For your word, will always be a lamp to our path. In your precious name we pray – Amen!