Breaking the Chains of Worry: The Ebb and Flow of Peace
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
The story of Jesus walking on the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee and calling Peter toward Him is one of Jesus' best-known miracles. It is a powerful image that is easy to describe and remember. It represents so vividly the choice we have when we face the storms of life.
We can focus on the storm and worry about every possible scenario that could possibly happen.
We can focus on God. We can pray, tell God what we need, thank Him for all He has done and then experience His promised peace in the midst of any storm.
When we pay attention to God and focus on Him, there is a sense in which we walk above the problems that surround us. It is not that we are no longer threatened. It is not that our pain is gone. The problems and challenges are still there, but we have hope and can remain peaceful in spite of the turmoil that swirls around us.
The moment we pay attention to the storm and take our eyes off God, however, we lose our peace and begin to sink into the depths of worry and despair. Worry is definitely a "peace buster."
When Peter bailed out of the boat to be with Jesus, he walked on water just fine until he focused on the waves around him. As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the surrounding storm, he sank like a rock. When our focus is on our surrounding circumstances -- worry takes over and our peace will sink out of sight too.
I have spent my fair share of time sinking beneath the storms of life. And as a result of that my peace ebbs and flows. To be honest, I hate being blindsided. So when an unexpected storm hits, it initially throws me for a loop. I pay attention to the storm. As the first shock wave hits me -- I worry -- I am afraid -- I get angry -- I feel guilty. I begin to sink.
But the difference is that I have learned that I don't have to sink. Just as Jesus reached out his hand and rescued Peter, the Holy Spirit reaches out to rescue me by reminding me that I do not need to focus on the fears of my flesh -- I have a choice. I can choose to change my focus from the storm to my Savior. It is then that I experience His peace.
I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (NLT) Words of Jesus
On the journey with you,
This devotional has been reprinted by permission of the author. It was originally printed for those signed up for weekly devotionals on http://www.endurance.org.