What are you going through?
Are you looking for peace?
As I share my secrets to peace in the midst of chaos, I hope these words will leave you with the peace that passes all understanding.
I have struggled for a week to write while just as you I am faced with the horrors going on in our country and the world. Police officers in several cities hunted down and murdered, terrorists killing hundreds now more than once in a week. It is disturbing to hear what people say who are protesting and what they often do.
It is difficult to focus on the things that are light and easy like decor and recipes with all of this going on nearly on a daily basis. But in the midst of it a Scripture kept coming to my mind. It came with such frequency and fervency that I knew it was something I needed to focus on. So while I may have thought I was experiencing writer’s block, perhaps I was actually being drawn to write about something specific that God was trying to show me.
Whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE, whatever is EXCELLENT, whatever is PRAISEWORTHY
Think on these things.
I told God long ago that I didn’t want to miss a thing. So I pay attention when things keep popping in my head like Scripture. As I contemplated this Scripture which is really pretty deep….I mean the words are great but you literally need to fill in the blanks….what is true? what is noble? what is right?…..I knew this was God’s answer to me as I struggled with the things going on in the world that are so violent. I don’t usually get the full flavor of what God is speaking to me in one moment. It unfolds over time. This is a pattern that I witnessed when God was speaking to me about worship and which ended up in a complete healing of Multiple Sclerosis for me that you can read about in Do I Trust You Lord Part 1 and Do I Trust You Lord Part 2.
So I am not going to tell you what I fill in the blanks with on what is True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable, Excellent and Praiseworthy….I don’t have the answers yet and if you dwell on this Scripture I believe your filled in blanks would differ from mine although we would both have correct answers~
The next thing that came to me this week was one of the most comforting songs I have ever sung.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Years later after having sung this song for as long as I could remember, I learned of the story behind this song. The songwriter, Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) , was a successful lawyer in Chicago, IL. not a songwriter or a preacher. He was married and had 5 children. His only son died while very young, then the great Chicago fire took out a lot of Horatio’s business interests and he had to work very hard to build his business back up again. He scheduled a trip to Europe for his family and due to an unexpected business matter, he stayed behind to join them shortly arriving on another boat. His wife, Anna, and four daughters were aboard the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre. Approximately 4 days into their journey the boat collided with another and within 12 minutes was submerged in the darkness of the ocean waters. Anna alone would survive of the five family members. On the ship cruise over to join his grieving wife Horatio was made aware of the spot where the ship went under and penned the words of the song.
The words of this song now move me to tears knowing the story behind them. I am so grateful that in the midst of probably the deepest pain and sorrow that this man ever experienced he was moved to write these words. These words hold such power because of how they were carved from pain to trust, from sorrow to peace. They were a gift to the world because one man chose to honor God in the midst of his greatest loss.
If you find yourself struggling today or any other day, I offer the above words to inspire you and the following ideas to stir you in a direction that may help you find peace in the midst of chaos.
- Pray. Ask God what is going on. What would He have you do. What is He saying to you. Pray for the situation and the people involved. Ask God to give you a Scripture to guide you during this time.
- Praise. I know this may sound a bit frivolous to you but it is truth. Remember that when Paul and Silas were imprisoned in chains they praised God and the earth shook and the chains broke and they were free. There is tremendous power in praise to overcome evil and depression. This is something I can go on and on about and if you question it, read about worship in the Bible and you can see it for yourself. So put on some worship music. If you don’t own any, put it on Pandora or the radio. If you don’t know the songs, listen to the words. If you know a worship song, sing it. Sing it from your heart.
- Write. Write anything. Write your feelings no matter what they are. Write what comes to your mind. Let it flow and flow and then when nothing more comes, go back to prayer and see if God has something to say that you may want to write down. You know everyone can be a songwriter. Horatio was a businessman and a lawyer. It does not matter what you do. You too can write a song. I’ve written many and it amazes me that people sing them in their churches. Sometimes they send us youtube videos of them and I am in awe that just because I took pen to paper and then put it out there for people to use that they are expressing themselves to each other and to God with my words. I am no different than you. I believe we all have songs in us. The songs that you have in you may bless people all over the world just as Horatio has for generation after generation. If you would like to see how you can impact lives watch this video sent to us from a church using one of our songs.
- Dream. When you go to bed, ask God to speak to you through the night. He can give you dreams and visions. Keep a paper and pen at your bedside so in case you wake up and you know that you had a dream that means something that you can write it down. How many times I have thought, “oh I won’t forget that” and sure enough I have no clue what I had dreamed. There are a lot of books on dream interpretation but I always say take it to God. I believe you are aware if you have been spoken to in a dream. So write it down and ask God for the interpretation. As I mentioned earlier, He doesn’t always give us everything at once. He likes to feed it to us slowly to make sure we are understanding and swallowing what He is saying. If you say, I don’t dream or I have never had a dream from God….just ask for one!
- Read. Pick up the Holy Bible and read it. Scripture after Scripture will speak to your heart. The psalms will show you a man who God said was after His own heart and yet David cried out over and over to God when troubled and feeling low. God has promised that His Word would go out and not come back void. That means that there is power in the Word of God and when it is read or spoken it is alive and does a work. So if you are in need of joy, comfort, peace….simply start in the concordance of the Bible ( usually in the back) where you would find those words matched to the page where you will find a Scripture about them.
When times in life become more trying, my response is to run to God not away. He is always there waiting for me to get over being too busy to spend time with Him and takes me in His arms every single time. He is there for you as well.
I pray that you find the peace you are seeking and hope that my simple steps are an encouragement for you to get there.