Tuesday, April 15
Can there be peace in brokenness? It is not something everyone readily admits to, but sometimes in our family, we refer to being a bit depressed or out of sorts as being “a little broken.” There are many events in our lives that try to break us and we are all familiar with the phrases, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” or “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Indeed, Scripture even reassures us that we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13). However, the Bible does not promise that we will avoid bruises and scrapes along the way. Sometimes our trials are so significant they seem almost to rip out our very insides. So when the pain of life seems to be too much, where is the peace?
Most everyone asks this question at some point, and it seems to go hand in hand with the age-old question, “Where is God?” Isn’t that really what we are looking for if we say we are looking for peace? The reassurance that God is with us would be the ultimate peace, would it not? That may seem like a trite answer, but the very presence of God would be the way of peace … at least for me. When the waves of the sea seemed to Peter as if they would swallow him, his peace came in putting his eyes on Christ and having his Lord reach out for him (Matthew 14:29-31). However, sometimes the waves are too high and our eyes may be tightly shut out of fear and we cannot see the face of Jesus.
Years ago when I was in a class on marriage counseling, a wise professor said that there may be times in a marital relationship when it is too painful for the couple to look to one another for healing. Perhaps the couple is handling a difficult loss in different ways, or one spouse feels betrayed by the other, or some other issue is dividing them in ways that seem too big to overcome. However, problems like these do not have to mean the marriage is over, and this professor recommended that if the couple has children, they may need to look away from one another for a time and focus on their children while their relationship is healing. After all, he said, the children are an outward expression of the couple’s love for each other.
If there are times when we cannot see the face of our Lord because we feel he has betrayed us and left us alone or finally given us more than we can bear, where do we focus? What is the outward expression of his love for us? Perhaps the answer comes in the loving actions of others. In my own life, when I have been “a little broken” and could not clearly see the presence of God, I have seen his children in action. In the despair of a beloved child’s funeral, I have seen joy in the volunteer actions of others. In the silence of a hospital room, I have heard music. In the desolation of poverty, I have seen the abundance of generosity. In the isolation of grief, I have seen a community of caring. In the exclusion of labels and stereotypes, I have been welcomed by those different from me. In the loneliness of fear, I have had the company of a loving hand to hold. Peace for me has come in the actions of God’s children caring for one another through unspeakable pain. Looking outside ourselves to the gifts of this life …the loving support of other children of God … is a place of peace. May we share it with others and find it when necessary.
Lift in prayer today
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