July 3, 2013

Does God’s Will Always Feel Like Peace?

 

I wish we’d stop measuring the will of God based on peace.

When faced with a big decision, we ask each other: Do you have peace about it? Where’s the peace? Do you feel at peace about that decision?

We think that wherever the peace goes, we should go too.

But lately I’m wondering if peace is actually the foolproof compass we imagine it to be.

If you read through the Bible, most of the people in the stories had really scary assignments: Go someplace you’ve never been, fight a giant, give birth to God’s child, die on a cross.

Nothing about these assignments screams peace to me—at least not peace in the way we usually think of it.

When I think of the word peace, I think of a hot shower on a cold morning, a fluffy bed at the end of a long day, or a hug from my dad.

And for some people, the will of God may feel like that.

But for me, that kind of peace has led me astray every single time.

I have felt peace about decisions that were really, truly, wrong for me. I was praying about it, I was seeking the Lord’s guidance, but I still had total peace that I should marry him…and him…and him—red flags or not.

If you feel peace when the Lord is leading you somewhere…good for you. Enjoy being wrinkle-free for the rest of your life.

I, on the other hand, am going to have a face like a Shar Pei from all of the times I’ve been asked to do things that scare me to death.

No Road Signs

I have yet to see the name of a man in the sky, or a gigantic road sign saying, “Hey, Stephanie May… move to Georgia and work for a missions organization.” Although it’s probably a good idea that God doesn’t work that way. If he did, I would probably think he was talking to the other Stephanie May that was considering a move to Georgia in the name of missions.

I don’t hear a voice from above, and no matter how hard I beg and plead, God rarely gives me the kind of confirmation I’m looking for.

But along with a major lack of signage when God is leading me somewhere, I also have a distinct lack of peace.

I cry like a baby in the face of life change. All of the positive possibilities fade away and all I can see are the unknowns and the shiny options I’m leaving behind.

I’ve learned to trick myself into big decisions—signing up with a down payment months in advance—committing to something I know I’ll be afraid of later. I spend the next several months crying and throwing temper tantrums, but at least it’s too late to change my mind.

But on the other side of those fear-filled decisions have come the sweetest parts of my life. That first mission trip, the chance to study abroad, quitting the conventional career, going back to it years later, have all been the most terrifying, best decisions of my life.

If we’re doing life the way that Jesus did, then peace might be the wrong thing to pray for. Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him—to lose our lives so we can gain them.

I don’t know about you, but losing my life sounds like a terrible thing. It sounds like ditching all of my efforts at planning something good for the itty-bitty hope that God could whip up something better.

I think that’s why they call it a leap of faith, because it feels like a leap. The fear, the unknown, having no idea what’s waiting for you at the bottom, your heart feeling like it’s going to come out of your throat, and the acute knowledge that you’re screwed if God doesn’t show up…that sounds like a leap to me.

God’s people have done some crazy things through the years. They’ve conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, and died for the things they knew were good and right.

They were crazy, radical, by-the-skin-of-their-teeth and by-the-grace-of-God kind of people.

But God tells us not to be afraid. He tells us to be strong and courageous, to trust him, to have faith and not to doubt because with the kind of life we’re going to live with him, we’re going to need that advice. And it’s scary, but it is always good.

Every single time it’s been better than I ever could have asked for or imagined.

Every single time God gets to look at me and say, “Stephanie, this is why following me is ANYTHING but boring.”

I want that kind of life. I want to be living proof that God caught me every single time I found the courage to jump.

Where are you looking for peace in your life? What would it take for you to jump?

Originally Published: July 3, 2013
Category: Christian Living
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