By Brother Al Salay
TURMOIL! – (It’s a fact of life . . .)
World news, national politics, local issues, family and personal situations, finances, overflowing sinks, air conditioner antics, even the weather with its rapid and sometimes fearsome excursions, all bring challenges to our daily lives. It can feel like a never-ending stream.
Stress is the result. Seasons of distress and grief face us often. We can praise God that the remedy for these attacks of stress has been provided for us. It is written for our instruction –
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of god, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil.4:6-7 KJV)
Yes, we can have peace in the midst of turmoil.
It is that special peace that comes from God.
It is the peace that passes all understanding.
It shall keep not only our minds but also our hearts.
It is ours, through the power and love of Jesus.
But, we must ask.
We must acknowledge the power and authority and the majesty of God.
We must come to Him by prayer and supplication.
We must come with thanksgiving and make our requests known.
His peace is available to us. We must appropriate it. We must seek it. We must grasp it and cling to it.
Notice that the issue here is PEACE. Peace for our hearts and peace for our minds. This is not about subduing the turmoil. That is a different issue.
Sometimes the turmoil in our world is not subdued.
Sometimes it is actually in the service of God. Wars and floods and even pestilence are tools God uses to get the attention of wanton men.
Sometimes the great plans of God, being worked out on Earth, require the presence and participation of His faithful children.
No, this is not about freedom from turmoil. This is about finding peace and serenity in the midst of the turmoil. It is a peace that becomes available to us when we pass the responsibility and the burden to Him by making our requests known.
There is another scripture that ministers to us in turmoil.
I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever. (John 14:16)
Of course, that Comforter is the Holy Spirit. There are many and varied ministries of the Holy Spirit. We tend to focus on the more dynamic ones, such as wisdom, knowledge and prophecy. Here, Jesus called Him “Comforter.” Could we be missing some benefits by not calling upon Him in that role? Perhaps!
One day, as I was in prayer, contemplating the comforting role of the Holy Spirit, an image formed in my mind. I saw a kind of cape, a covering a person might wear to protect from the gusts and gales of a stormy day.
This cape, or shawl, covered the top of my head, blocking the gusts and giving a sense of warm comfort.
It draped down the sides of my head and neck, giving a sense of security and separation from the roiling elements surrounding me.
From there it fell comfortably across my back and shoulders, enveloping me in its ministering folds.
It was comforting and pleasant. I pulled it tight about myself. I was grateful for the solace it provided.
Peace, warmth, comfort were mine. Yes,
A Shawl of Serenity,
A covering of peace,
A manifestation of the presence of the Comforter,
The ministry of the Holy Spirit of God.
What joy and satisfaction I felt! I now had a visual image to bring life to my understanding. I now had a private place of refuge to which I could retreat at any moment, just by remembering this very special scene. I could retrieve the sense of serenity simply by remembering the full, enveloping power of the special Comforter sent by the Father.
Is the world around me now at peace?
No! It’s the same old undisciplined and dynamic world. But, I am at peace within it.
It churns and flails about me, but the presence of the Comforter of God provides to me a sense of serenity in the midst of it all.
The Shawl of Serenity envelopes me!
I have made my requests known to God
And He has sent His Comforter
To give me His peace.
His presence surrounds me
as a comforting shawl.