I remember when the peace of God filled me in that season. To everyone else, we looked insane. From the outside perspective, we were taking a great risk. But, to us, we felt it; we knew. The peace of God that was literally “beyond all understanding” was alive in our plans, and there was nothing else left for us to do but trust.
Have you ever had one of those experiences? The kind of situation that leaves you at a loss for words to explain this thing or this path on which the Lord alone has set you? I surely have. In fact, I’m still in the midst of it. But, I wouldn’t change such an experience for anything. The experience of the “peace of God.”
I’m glad you’ve returned! We are on day 22 of the 30 Days of Prayer series. What a blessing.
Yesterday’s post covered being still in the Lord, but today’s post focuses on what follows next: the peace of God.
As always, get your preferred hot beverage (I’ve got my coffee), and let’s dive in.
30 Days of Prayer: Pray to Seek After the Peace of God (Day 22)
My husband served for 13 years in the military. Towards the end of his final enlistment, we both began to feel increasingly unsettled within our souls about his re-enlisting. The unsettling was inconvenient, for lack of a better term.
I mean, for all earthly wisdom, the choice to stay in the Navy meant that our needs would be provided, our income would be stable, and we would have all medical coverage…basically the general “golden” life. So, why did we both feel a pit in our stomachs or a lump in the throat at the thought of staying in?
We felt it, so we sought confirmation. Since my husband’s chance for promotion was coming around again for the fourth time (a seemingly unheard-of number for such an excellent sailor), we both prayed for the Lord to make Himself clear: A) he gets promoted and we re-enlist, or B) he is passed over for the promotion and it is time to move on from the military.
He was passed over. This was seriously a total shock to his leadership, so much so that they kept asking if he needed to be watched for suicide risk (a real threat for a lot of military members…mental health is a post for another day). But, for us, we simply knew that the Lord had answered our prayer: it was time to move on.
The peace of God that we felt in that time was undeniable, yet “foolish” to most people.
Sometimes the peace of God appears foolish to those who operate in the world.
But, the Lord did not stop there. He provided us with word pictures and biblical stories to reveal what He was doing for us, and then confirmed these stories by bringing them up repeatedly by others who had no idea. The two stories He put on my heart were 1) Abram and Sarai leaving their family and all that they knew while God brought them through the wilderness into their Promised Land, and 2) Moses and the Israelites who were led out of the slavery of Egypt into the wilderness as God led refined them for their Promised Land.
The themes were undeniable. We were headed into the wilderness so that God could lead us to our Promised Land…whatever that meant.
So, it was our job to trust the peace of God and follow Him as He was leading, whether it made logical sense to the world or not.
The Peace of God surpasses understanding…
It is often hard to explain the “peace of God” to others. And it does not help much that the idea is so abstract. Yet, we are regularly encouraged in scripture to trust this thing, this feeling of sorts, as we walk.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil. 4: 7
The peace of God, or just the concept of “peace” in general, is the idea of knowing the “right way” to go with or without any particular logical process behind it. It is the “intuition” element of the faith walk, which requires a quieting of the mind and the self in order to seek out the internal guidance that the Spirit within provides.
I liken it to the concept of musical harmony. I have followed many paths before that did not offer the peace of God, but rather were discordant and out of sync with the harmony within me. They were not inherently sinful by any stretch of the imagination and I could literally reason my way into doing them.
BUT, within days of taking steps to follow this “logical” path I could feel an unsettling within my Spirit. It felt like something was “off.”
I erred by following my worldly logic, rather than trusting the inner peace of God.
And, I’ve had to come humbly before God in repentance several times for this exact same thing. Now, I can feel the inner differences between the two. Though I still struggle to navigate the guidance I have before me (whether the peace of God or the logic of my mind), I can stand firmly on my decisions when I know that they are following where His peace is leading. I can now more easily feel when a choice is in harmony with the Spirit within me.
This blog is the result of this exact process.
For years I have felt a “calling” to write. My heart is for women’s ministry, but have not had the life situation to facilitate that call. I want to be the Priscilla Shirer or Beth Moore of our generation, and yet I have no actual background to facilitate such a platform. In fact, my life situation with children and babies precludes that potential in this season of my life.
But, still, the Lord has pulled at my heart to write. And, no matter how far I tried to run from the call upon my heart, and twist and turn in different directions with ration arguments and logical reasoning, the pull to write remained.
It was not until I submitted to the call, trusted the peace that my heart felt when I thought about writing and doing the work of it all, and followed obediently what He was telling me to do, that I felt overall peace and “rightness.”
The peace of God is meaningless when we ignore it and try to go our own way, BUT leads to incredible blessing and abundance of heart when we submit to its guidance, even outside of logic.
The Lord loves to guide His children. And will readily provide answers when we seek them out, even though they will often defy logic.
One thing worth noting is that though the peace of God may be felt in the innermost part of ourselves, where the Holy Spirit resides, we may simultaneously feel the emotional pressure of the flesh, too. For me, it is like two separate senses. One sense is a definitive peace with a choice or path, while the other might be a litany of fears, nerves, anxieties, and reasonable arguments against that particular choice.
It takes practice and discernment to navigate the differences between the two and to learn how to distinguish an “unsettling of the Spirit” from things like “fear/anxiety/worry/logic.”
It is not to say that God is not logical, but specifically the kind of logic that is separate from spiritual truths.
For instance, it was not “logical” to most people that we felt it was best for my husband to leave the Navy. It was clearly more logical for him to stay in based on the provision of the most important needs: finances, food, medical, housing, and a job.
BUT, for us, these values are not the same. Though these things are important, we do not place our hope and trust in a system for provision, but rather in the Lord. And, we knew that if we decided to re-enlist to preserve these things we would be doing so out of a lack of trust in God’s goodness, specifically and exclusively.
The reason we knew this was because a) my husband hated the work he was doing, b) he was literally physically sick because of the stress load he was under, and c) the specific work he was doing was difficult to navigate from a moral standpoint and was constantly toeing the line for his spirit.
We KNEW that it was not the right fit for us, so even though “logically” we heard all the reasons to stay in, we knew there was more solid logic for why we needed to move on and get out.
Satan was diligently working against God’s plan by using the world’s logic to twist God’s Word.
There were some very specific twists that Satan used against us at that time. He will ALWAYS try to steer you away from going where God is leading you. This is why it is so critical to learn how to be led by the peace of God.
Some people questioned the validity of my husband’s emotions. “Surely he is just ungrateful for the job that the Lord has given to him. If he simply gives more thanks for his work, he’ll like it more.”
There were also arguments about the wisdom of taking such steps “without a net.” “Is it really wise and good stewardship to leave an excellent job that is providing when you don’t have a job set up already? Doesn’t that seem foolish? Remember, we aren’t to “put God to the test.”
And then, when we were in the midst of this process, already having taken the steps of obedience into the wilderness, the always familiar “generational curse” twist. “Mmm, so you don’t have a job yet? You must be under a generational curse, or have some kind of hidden sin. God is punishing you for something. You have to repent, or else….”
Yes, ALL of these are real things people have said to imply to us in the last three and a half years, and every single one of them was leaning on worldly understanding.
Satan’s lies ALWAYS distort actual truths with contextual misapplication.
In the Garden, Satan successfully led Eve astray with the exact same tactics. He suggested that the peace of God was a lie and that logic was a much better guide than Truth. By obeying that lie, all of humanity suffered greatly.
He argues quite convincingly “did God really say ______?”
This is where the Armor of God becomes ever more critical, and the wisdom of the Peace of God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” ~ Eph. 6: 10-18
We knew that my husband was not ungrateful for the job he had. The Truth of the situation was clear to us, whether or not other people were interested in hearing it.
Of course, we also knew that finances and jobs are NOT our security, so even though they might be the things we can see, they are not the things in which we put our faith. The Shield of Faith was guiding our steps.
Finally, we were also confident and firm in no hidden or unconfessed sin, and even though we are fallible human beings, ever falling short of the glory of God, we had hearts of a deep desire to please and honor God. The Breastplate of Righteousness and the shoes of the Gospel of Peace protected us.
It was the sum total of all of these Truths within our lives that the peace of God gained access and a footing to lead us.
In the same way, God continues to lead each of His children as He walks with us through the faith journey.
Which way is He leading you?
Sweet sister, I know that these things can be confusing at times, especially when it comes to bringing words to abstract, spiritual ideas. I encourage you to take to prayer the things of the Spirit and seek the wisdom of the Lord as you move on. The peace of God is beyond explanation, but I yearn so deeply for everyone to experience the blessing that it boasts.
Abba, thank You for Your peace and amazing grace. Help me to learn how to hear Your voice and feel Your peace that they may lead me in Truth. I know that You have plans for my life. Help me to not go my own way. Place roadblocks in my path if I am heading in a direction that is not where You desire me to go. Help my heart to be softened to Your peace so that I may know where it is leading each step of the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
He is with you and always working for your good. No matter what challenges or giants lie in the way, where the Lord is leading, He will always make a way.
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” ~ Is. 43: 18-19