Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fathoming our depths

"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever" (Isaiah 32:17).

"Quiet minds ... go on in fortune or misfortune at their own pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm" (Robert Louis Stevenson). During World War II a European Christian remarked, "On the surface there is storm, but twenty fathoms down it is quite calm."

We must fathom the fathoms before we can comprehend that peace which the world cannot give; indeed, the world seems happiest when it is whipping up a war here and a rumor there, trying to undercut the flow of God's undercurrent. "Blessed are the peacemakers," Jesus said, "for they will be called [children] of God."

The only conquering God asks of us is of ourselves, not the world and its whims. He will take care of everything else for us. It wasn't the world Jesus wanted to change, but those in the world.

"He who climbs above the cares of the world and turns his face to his God has found the sunny side of life. The world's side of the hill is chill and freezing to a spiritual mind, but the Lord's presence gives a warmth of joy which turns winter into summer" (Charles Spurgeon). God asks us to live independent of our circumstances while we live dependent on Him. At times how difficult this is!

The promise of peace has some precepts:

1) Gratitude to God and to humankind. This is the perfect prayer of mind and heart, and lifts us above care to caring;
2) Moderation in all things. "Give me neither poverty nor riches" (Proverbs 30:8); "Give us today our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). Temperance controls the temper of our lives;
3) Absolute trust. "Do not be anxious about anything" (Philippians 4:6).

If we can't trust a God of providence then we can't trust a God of grace and graciousness.

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