My head was screaming with disagreement. I did not have peace. Sure, I had exercise, for I was at the pool. But I didn’t have peace. I had great disturbance, for I was concerned about so many things. What were those things?
Hum … they were hard to enumerate.
I felt like a failure.
I was concerned for my son.
I was concerned for how God might use me to bring change into the world.
I was concerned about the judgment seat of Christ.
I was concerned about winning souls for Christ.
I was concerned about how to make my wife happy, for we were having guests over. And I was thinking about the fact that I had been invited to attend a Full Gospel Business Men’s breakfast that morning (which started in about an hour), and because of our guests coming over, my wife didn’t want me to go. I was also concerned about the fact that I had been invited to yet another Christian function, which might provide me with an opportunity to serve the Lord. And that function was in direct conflict with both the Full Gospel Business Men’s breakfast, and, well, possibly with my wife’s plans, as well.
I was concerned about so many things, indeed. But what I was really concerned about, the most, was serving the Lord. I needed to pray, because my mind was filled with all sorts of concerns. The only way to figure this out was to pray. So I prayed. Yes, I prayed.
The first thing I did, from the seat of my car (for I had just been to an early morning swim), was to open up my electronic Bible and begin reading from the book of Hebrews. In my reading, I was at Hebrews 11, which is the “Hebrews Hall of Faith” chapter. This was the chapter that mentioned David, Barak, Samson, and others, as having served the Lord by faith. In that chapter, it says,
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
Wow. Just read that, will you? It says that Enoch was pleasing to God. Now that’s what I wanted to be.
Lord, can you please help me to be pleasing to you? Please …… ?
I began to pray. I interceded and prayed for my son. Yes, I prayed with a fervency. And I prayed for him until I had no more prayers. Yes, I was squeaky clean in terms of my son. I had exhausted that sponge. I had squeezed the sponge bone dry, as it were. I could not squeeze out even one more prayer for him. So I moved on to my wife. Yes, I prayed for her, because husbands are supposed to pray not only for their children, but their wives, too! So I prayed. Then, as I finished praying for my wife, I suddenly remembered, the money I promised to send Michael, I have not sent it yet! Now Michael was a friend of the family that we were supporting financially, so he could study at school. I had failed to send the money! Ouch! Quickly, I grabbed the car keys, and turned the ignition, and headed off to Walmart to send the money via Western Union. I sent just the right amount necessary to cover all of his bills. And it was done. Finally. That also gave me the opportunity to evangelize and encourage the man handling the Western Union order (at Walmart) to know more about some churches in the area, so that he might be encouraged to attend. I shared with him my website address (www.faithnet.ca). The man was encouraged. It was great. He was happy. I introduced myself and said hello to him. I told him my name. I knew his name because his name-tag told me his name. We said hello and shook hands. There was something good about this encounter. In a sense, it was divine.
I walked back to my car. My thoughts had indeed been troubling me that morning. There had been so many. I sat down. The sun was shining in the window of the car. I closed my eyes and just sat there.
The sea of thoughts that had been plaguing me was perfectly calm. There was not a tremor, or a doubt, or a displacement of any type. It was perfect, perfect, perfect, peace.
What had happened?
I had sent the money, that’s what had happened!
You see, it was all about the money, in a very big way. The Lord was displeased with me, because I had failed to send the money to Michael, like I had promised. Thus, I could not obtain peace under these circumstances. And now, I was flowing in a veritable river of peace. It was so smooth. Not a thought on earth was troubling. Not a thought in heaven — or in hell — was troubling me, either. It was just pure peace. This pure peace came from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, who gave it to me. It is Jesus who said,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
Is this peace absolutely guaranteed? No, but it is available if we do the right things. We must listen to what God is telling us to do, and obey. There may not be another person on earth who could help Michael at this time. But God placed me in a certain situation such that I could help him. He needed not much money, but the money he needed I could provide, and it made a big difference in his life. Is this not enough reason to withhold peace? It is. If the lack of peace, and the overwhelming concerns that plague my mind, cause me to be driven to prayer, and if as a result of that God is able to speak to me and remind me of my obligations to help the person I said I was going to help, then that is reason enough to withhold peace. For that is exactly what happened.
The overwhelming concerns drove me to the word of God and prayer.
The Lord then spoke to me because I was in a “listening” position (as opposed to a “doing” position). But why is it that we conveniently “forget” to fulfil these obligations? The answer is “too many competing voices”.
The voice of having to attend a Full Gospel Business Men’s function.
The voice of having to attend a church function.
And many other such voices.
The voices are not bad voices, but they must be brought under submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a time and a place for everything.
And the bottom line in all of this? God needs you to help others. For He is concerned for the well-being of all individuals. He cares for the Michael’s and He cares for you. You are not only a receiver, you are a giver, too. God wants to use you to help others. Very often, we get in the mode of thinking that we only have needs, without realizing that God wants to use us to help others, as well.
Today, I came home, and indeed there was a need, and it was to get rid of some sofas that we have lying around the house. For our house is currently filled with old sofas. I put an ad in Kijiji (kijiji.ca) and within one hour, 3 or 4 people had contacted me, for I had advertized a free sofa. So it attracted some immediate attention. Three people called, but my heart was not stirred. I said “first-come first-served” without really thinking about it. I even said, “I’m not waiting.” But God had a different plan.
Then the man from Chelsea called. He said, “I have to drive my children somewhere. Then, I will have to time to come over at 1:45 p.m.”
Now that was in more than 2 hours from now. First-come first-served? My heart was stirred for the man. I said, “You are aware that there is a rip in the non-leather portion of the sofa, in the middle, correct?”
“Yes,” the man responded. I made sure he understood this was not a perfect sofa by any means.
My heart said “Wait. Let this man have the sofa. Turn everyone else away.” I talked with the man, and the man said, “We really cannot afford anything right now, so we will take it. We are a struggling family.”
The family. Yes, the family. God loves the family, for He created it. God wants the family to succeed. Could God have put me in this situation, to be able to bless this family?
I got his assurance and made sure he understood that I would be turning everyone else away from that moment forward. The man said, “Thank you.” He would see me around 1:45 p.m. And it is this man that I now await, as I write these words. This man is being sent to me from God, for there is yet another need. This man does not know God, and when He arrives, I will tell him about the goodness of God, for God desires that we share our faith and entertain strangers. For by doing so, the Bible says, some have even entertained angels without being aware of it (see Hebrews 13:2). And whom am I to say that God is not sending an angel this way at 1:45? I do not know. But what I do know is that there was something about that phone call that said, “Wait. Let this man have your sofa.” Thus, I shall do so, indeed.
God needs you. He needs you to help others. If you will do this thing, and incline your ear to His voice, then He will bless you. He will bless you with peace. Those overwhelming thoughts that you have right now will just fade away. God is able to do that, you know. Yes, He can and will indeed do that, if you allow Him to.
Look at what the Bible says about getting peace. It says you must do something. Take a look.
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)
So there it is. Therein lies the secret to obtaining peace. Do the things that Paul did, which were the things that Jesus did, and in so imitating Paul, who imitated Jesus, God will bless you with His peace. That peace is real. Do you want it? Reach out and take hold of it. In the name of Jesus. Amen.