I had a little talk with Jesus last week . . . same topic but a different conversation on my end. I’ve been praying all these months for the truth to be seen, for justice to be done, for strength and protection for those I love who are under attack . . . and I will continue to pray for those things. But justice has not yet prevailed. I am “painfully disturbed by the waves and billows of God’s providential permission.”
Are you painfully disturbed by the waves and billows of God’s providential permission, and having, as it were, turned over the boulders of your belief, are you still finding no well of peace or joy or comfort; is all barren? Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus. Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to tun your mind to Him . . . Are you looking to Jesus now, in the immediate matter that is pressing and receiving from Him peace? If so, He will be a gracious benediction of peace in and through you. But if you try to worry it out, you obliterate Him and deserve all you get.
That’s one of the things I love about Oswald Chambers, his straightforward talk. He doesn’t worry about your feelings. He just tells the truth. I’ve had these notes in my journal from a year ago. I came across them a few weeks ago . . . and they’ve been percolating ever since.
You may be wondering what this thing is that so painfully disturbs me. I know I do when I read about someone else’s trial or trouble. It’s human nature. But those deep things are always private, especially when they involve someone else’s life and heart. Besides, knowing the details would make you wish you hadn’t asked, and it wouldn’t help you with your things. We will all have them, these heartaches and hard things. I’m more empathetic than I would choose to be sometimes. Even so, the pain of these things is only truly felt when they happen to us. Like war. Like a natural disaster. Like a diagnosis. Like an ending. Like disillusionment, betrayal, loss of innocence, cruelty, suffering, death.
I already know the right answers, like “God’s not done yet” and I need to “keep trusting.” I know the truth about God’s omnipotence and faithfulness and lovingkindness. I’ve experienced it and witnessed it, firsthand, many times. I know that “justice is His” and that “His ways are not our ways.” But . . . the word that erases all that came before. Yes, but I am “painfully disturbed by the waves and billows” of all He is allowing in the lives of my loved ones.
When I let Oswald’s words percolate, I see that I have missed something important: “You have not been considering Me.” I’ve been stoically trying to hold up, to be strong, to pick up one end of the load to carry for my people, as if their getting through this depended, even in some small way, on me.
We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him . . . Lay it all out before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, hear Him say, "Let not your heart be troubled. My peace I give unto you”—it is a peace that comes from looking into His face and realizing His undisturbedness. When our Lord speaks peace, He makes peace; His words are ever “spirit and life.” –John 14:27 –My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers
It’s me, Lord. I give this whole thing to you, again. My reservoir is dry. It always has been. But still I’ve been counting on it, believing that somehow my intense focus will help guard the perimeters. I have made myself literally sick with worry, blighted my spirit with discouragement, let my heart get hard in the face of injustice. I have not been considering You. I haven’t been considering how You plan to handle this. I love you. I trust You. I’ll wait on You. It’s all Yours. I need Your undisturbedness, Your peace. You love them even more than I do. They’re Yours, Lord. Thy will be done. Amen. PS: Please remind me when I forget.
Even after Alzheimer’s began to rob Mom of so many things, she still sang a few of the old hymns to herself as she moved around the house on good days, like she used to when we were young. And she could remember the words as the melody made its way through her mind. I’m remembering them too today, letting the melody bring forth their simple truth, letting it break through the tangles and anxious noise to His peace.
What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer! Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge— Take it to the Lord in prayer… In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," Joseph Medlicott Scriven—1855