Monday, June 24, 2013

Be Still My Soul

I never dated in high school.  Not really.  I had some crushes and a few "boyfriends" but none of them would have been considered "relationships".  I prayed a lot about that aspect of my life.  I reasoned that if God wasn't providing someone for me right then, He must have had a reason.  In fact, I always said to my friends, "If the person God wants you to be with is on the other side of the world, you would still not have a reason to worry.  Because if He wants you together, He's going to make it happen no matter what kind of effort you are or aren't putting into it."

Then I went to college and I met someone who I thought was pretty great.  His family had a lot of the same church background - his dad had even been a preacher at one point.  He loved music and singing.  He bought me Starbursts and Taco Bell (awesome, right?!).  He had an interesting sense of humor that I got, and he seemed to have a great personality.  I could tell that the time was approaching when we were probably going to start dating.  And yet, I was anxious.

I wondered for about a month whether this was really what God wanted for me. After all, hadn't I just met this person?  What if he just seemed great?  What if God wanted to me do something different with my life than be in a relationship with this person?

I had a conversation with a friend (another Christian, about two years older than I was) about this, and mentioned that I was feeling worried.  She listened and said some encouraging things.  That afternoon, I found a card tied to the door handle of my dorm room.  It was from this friend, and she had written this verse:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Isn't peace the opposite of anxiety?  Stop worrying, and pray.  Present your requests (no matter how "little" you think they may be) to God.  Be thankful to Him.  And then He promises something: The peace of God WILL guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Without Jesus, you have no choice but to have anxiety about every little thing.  But with Jesus, the God of the universe takes care of all of those little things for you, so you can relax and enjoy His blessings.

I have now been married to Jon for almost 5 1/2 years.  The story you read about happened almost 10 years ago.  I do not regret the decision we made to start dating, and to get married several years later.  That being said, however, marriage is not easy.  In fact, it is extremely difficult, and we have had our valleys to struggle through together.  Ultimately, I don't think we would have made it without the Lord.  With Him, we can conquer anything. Or should I say - He will conquer it all for us.  All we have to do is ask, and be thankful.  Sometimes the end result of our prayers are not what we would have originally expected - but every time, He works it out better than we could have expected.

When the passage says "peace, which transcends all understanding" - that's really what it means.  Sometimes in this crazy world, wherever you are in your life, there are moments when you have no idea how things will possibly be "okay".  Maybe that's a daily experience for you.  There is no reason for you to feel at peace about things.  You have every reason to be worried, angry or anxious, to hit the panic button.  But God promises peace that transcends our comprehension.  And when you've gone through something and realized that you have been given that peace, it is a miraculous feeling.

The words of a hymn (would I ever write anything without quoting a song?  I mean really) speak true to God's role in our lives as believers:

"Be still my soul; the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly Friend,
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end."

I wrote this verse as a Facebook status several years ago, during one of our valleys, and commented underneath - "I hope this is true."  I can now say with confidence that it is true, and so is Philippians 4:6-7.  The Bible is not full of lies.  It is full of truth.

If you are in one of those places of anxiety and doubt, tell God about it.  Doesn't matter that He already knows.  Talking to Him is your surrender, and you will be blessed with the peace of God.

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