Are you disturbed?
While I was out doing my prayer walk this morning, I began to ask, "Am I disturbed? If so, why?" What are the kinds of disturbances in our lives?
I see two kinds:
- The disturbance that comes when we focus on our circumstances, which automatically moves us away from our "ignorance is bliss" mode and causes us to fall into the challenge of reality.
- The disturbance that comes when God rocks our boat and disrupts our comfort zones in order to either redirect us, or to get our attention.
I think it is important to distinguish between these, because we may miss something if we chalk it all up to the devil-circumstances or bad choices. I believe God does not waste anything in our lives and if we would be as spiritually tuned in to Him as we are to our smartphones, tablets or computers, we would be able to stay on track with Him.
Let's look at the first cause. Our peace can be due to ignorance, or to pouring buckets of carnal anesthesia over our sticky situations in order to keep steady on our courses. Neither of these will solve our issues. In fact, my experience teaches me that they grow bigger and bigger because temporal efforts are futile. Problems are still there after a movie, TV show, dinner, drinks or whatever.
The only true peace is the kind that comes from Him. "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). It is implied in this Scripture that there are copious amounts of peace available to us when we focus on Him. So, why do we go elsewhere? When we go to temporal places, the results are temporary at best, and the result is that we become exceptionally "disturbed."
An illustration of the second possibility, "that God wants to get our attention," might look like the following: We are going about our lives—great car, house, jobs, kids, finances all plumb—and then, all of a sudden, the bottom drops out on us. The job is gone, fire took the house and such—and we come unglued. Did you know that God allows trials to come into our lives to wake us up? His purpose may be to cause us to place Him back on the throne of our lives, or to lead us to His desired destiny for us (which He had all along until we selected what we think He wants for us). Be assured, He will come and rock the boat till we get the memo, because He loves us. Some people don't like change! Watch out! You are guaranteed change, so prepare yourselves!
I wonder what was going on in Esther's life before the king decided he needed a new queen. Could she have known her life was about to be interrupted and disturbed—for a nation? In due course, she left her uncle's home to live in a harem where she spent 12 months being prepared for just the possibility of becoming queen. But she did not know for sure that she would be the next queen. It must have felt like trying to stand on Jell-O. Her whole life had been like a puzzle suspended in mid-air, with no clue what it would look like when it hit the ground. She had been disturbed by God, so her present and future suddenly became uncertain. Nonetheless, I believe she had the Shalom of God with her in the process!
When Jesus called His disciples, their lives were interrupted and they became disturbed with His command, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19).
What about Jonah? He did not want to go to Nineveh, so to help him become obedient, God provided him a detour in the belly of a great fish!
There are many other examples in Scripture and I am sure the peace of these spiritual pillars was royally rocked. Yet, in all of them, I know His peace was available to minister to all, and based on their behavior, I would say that they accepted the peace He gives in order to complete their callings without falling apart.
Some of us are tough nuts to crack! Don't you realize that the attitude of "my way or no way" is a recipe for disaster? Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fire? They had the Prince of Peace present with them! (See Dan. 3:24-25). They made it through a fiery furnace unblemished and rejoicing! Having the Prince of Peace present in our trials is all part of our inheritance. We whine, moan, complain and worry throughout our trials, instead of allowing His direction and guidance along the way. Doesn't Scripture say, "Fear not" 365 times? A memo for us to "fear not" every day of our year!
My dearly beloved mom was a worrier. I remember thinking, I wonder if she feels that if she does not do her quota of worrying, she is not doing her job as a mom? Can we relate? What better way to face the trials than to accept that God is on the throne, He is not about to leave, and that He wants us to be peaceful and not in turmoil.
I have heard people say, "But you don't understand!" What I understand is that as a Christian, I am required to believe God's report and not that of man if I want to stay sane in these troubled times. I, too, have been disturbed by God many times and I believe this was where the "rubber hit the road" for me as a believer. Was I always successful in placing my trials in His hand and being peaceful? No! However, as a "work in progress," I am very aware of my options, and my need to count on God's grace to bring me from glory to glory and to get to a point where my feathers get ruffled less and less.
When Esther and her uncle accepted, embraced and moved toward God as He brought them interruptions, a nation was saved. Esther spent the rest of her days as queen, and favored by both God and man.
There is much turmoil in many of our lives, but He is there to calm the storms and say, "Peace be still" (Mark 4:39). Just like the time when a rough storm rocked all of them in a boat. It was Peter who sank when he took his eyes off Jesus (Matt. 8:23-27). We sink, too, when we take our eyes off Him. I know I have experienced sinking like a rock. Why did I not remember He is "I Am," the God who never changes?
If God has done miracles in your lives, make a list and reflect on them when the ground under you starts shaking. Refresh yourself with another look at His promises in His Word, for they are faithful and sure.
Sometimes the uncertainties and trials from God we experience are intended to give us testimonies, or to help us develop compassion and/or passions for a future calling. As the eye of the storm is calm, so are you when you find Him. Scripture says, "Keep me as the apple of Your eye" (Ps. 17:8). We are protected by God. Through encounters with His presence you will find courage and peace, as Hagar did in Genesis 16:7-14. Frenzied activity brings chaos. We are given many chances to become more and more like Him. His ways are for our benefit—if we could only get that into our hearts and spirits when the boats of our lives start rocking.
Something else that gives me peace is the Scripture Romans 8:28. My perspective lately when something goes wrong is, "OK, Lord, I know You must have something better at hand." Though our vision tarries sometimes, He is faithful to deliver! Do you want to live your Christian walk on the cutting edge, the place where heaven and earth collide? I do!
Oswald Chambers says, "Lay it all before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement and sorrow, hear Him say, 'Let not your heart be troubled'" (John 14:1).
Let's look up and reach for His peace. It is there for the taking. It brings healing, restoration and refreshment. That is where I want to be, I am sure you can all agree.
Rev. Josephine Marie (Jo) Ayers, a wife of 26 years, mother, grandmother and devout lover of God. She is also a worshipper, author, conference speaker, prophet, teacher and evangelist.
She attended Elim Bible Institute and College. She's been ordained and licensed since since late 90s. More recently she's been ordained under her own ministry, Flames of Fire Inc., an apostolic and prophetic ministry. Please visit her website, flamesoffire.us.
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