“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
During pastoral care sessions at school we’ve been rehearsing this sentence, “Sometimes bad things do happen.” We are trying to enable the students to understand that this is a fact but it doesn’t need to ruin their day. We are talking about strategies to reframe our thinking so that we can shift our feelings and behaviour so that things are not blown out of proportion.
On Friday night, I toss and turn overwhelmed with problems of my own. I’m frustrated. There seems no end to the curve balls that this week has thrown. I search for solutions for the diverse situations that are vying for attention in my mind. They roll over the top of each other acting like children who’ve forgotten the rules.
“Sit down, hands up, one at a time,” works wondrously with the children but I’m having no success in controlling my thoughts. Each one seems to frog leap over the other hurling ammunition at me. I wake early on Saturday morning deciding to journal.
For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn’t writing prayers, as I was often enough. You feel like you are with someone. Marilyn Robinson
“Be still and know that I am God.”
I recognise this voice deep within me.
“Oh God,” I sigh, “If only you knew how hard this is!”
He does know but in my present reality the problem feels bigger than the scriptural solution. I know if I sit in His book, peace will come. That He will remind me that nothing can be accomplished by might or strength. That the breakthroughs are ordained by His Spirit.
Throughout the week I’ve been listening to podcasts. The New York pastor talked about Galatians 5:22-23
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
He unpacked the conditions for peace. If you are at peace but are full of pride, he explained, your peace won’t last. It is based on your own achievements. On the other hand, if you are worried, he continued, you are arrogant. You think you know how things should be. You want control and this is not trusting God. It seems there no way to win.
“The peace of God passes all understanding.”
I hear Him whisper as I pause with my pen.
I guess that means His peace does not make sense. It is completely based on absolute trust in Him.
“Not my will, but yours be done.”
And so this morning I relinquish control.
“Put on the full armour 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.” Ephesians 6:13
The truth is, there’s a myriad of things that happened this week that are beyond my control. I ponder this and ask myself, was there anything more that I could have done?
When the answer is no – I let go. I lay these things at His feet. Sometimes bad things do happen but He is in control.