A few months back, a friend posted on her Facebook page the following question:
Where do you find peace during the difficult times?
Once upon a time when I struggled with things, I internalized them. Playing the scenario over in my head, dwelling on what I can’t change, angry at the person who was at the root of it. I knew, even then, that all of this worry or dwelling on things wouldn’t change the outcome. It was, what it was. In someways I think I was hoping I would learn something from the replay. Catch where I made the mistake, or clues that would have alerted me to the person’s un-trustworthiness. I could learn how to avoid that scenario or personality in the future. I was relying on my own self to figure out the complexity of relationships and circumstances that were almost always outside of anything I could control. As habits repeated, I learned an important thing… I couldn’t rely on myself and my own thinking to resolve every situation or deal with every person. I was human. Flawed.
For a period of time, I tried to seek the counsel of others. Guess what? They are human too, flawed as well. There were definitely occasions where I was given good advice but more often than not it was biased advice. These were people who loved me, cared about me, and often sided with me. They might give me a pass for something I should be accountable for. Or, try to solve the problem for me. They immediately blamed the other person, because they knew my heart and intentions. They were on my side. But not always on the side of truth. I learned that I couldn’t rely on others to give me the truth I needed to hear. Not because they were bad people, but because they loved me.
What I know now is that there is someone who loves me more than anyone else. Someone who sent his Son to die for every sin I would commit. Someone who took the penalty but at the same time was holding me accountable to truth. Christ calls me to be honest with myself. Christ compels me to forgive others, and myself. Christ beckons me to his shoulder to cry out in my sin, speak truth to that sin, and set me on the path to reconcile with others (and myself). I’ve learned that when the times are really difficult, I need to turn to Christ for truth. What is the truth of this difficult time? What do the scriptures advise me to do now that I know the truth? What would God have me do in this situation or with this person. I can rely on God because His Word is unchanging, infallible, and loving. He loves me so much that I will face Truth and be better for it.
I find peace at the Cross, because there Jesus did exactly what He promised. Just prior, he told the disciples that He was leaving peace for them so they wouldn’t be troubled. He didn’t say that there would be no difficult times, but instead left us with the hope that we can persevere (Romans 5:1-5) until He returns. When difficult times find me, I turn to the Cross for peace, hope, perseverance, and patience as I await the day… the glorious day… that the difficult times are gone.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.
A friend once told me, during a particularly difficult moment, “I am sorry you are in this, but I am so excited to see what happens when you are on the other side of this”. Now when I face trials and difficulties, I go to the Cross and deposit them there. Then I leave with excitement to see what the Lord is going to do with that trial, through me, or through those He will put in my path. Difficult times become a learning experience where I learn how loving, faithful and true the Lord is.