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The bible talks about a "peace that passes all understanding" in Philippians 4:7. The bible also instructs us not to fret in a whole bunch of places: Psalm 31:1, Psalm 37:7-8, Proverbs 24:19, to name a few. But in all honesty, when we get in a stressful situation, it is not so easy to walk that out. It is much easier to fret and worry, and to feel stressed.
Of course, we have faith in God and confidence in His love and care for us. Despite that, it is all too easy for our human nature to kick in when we find ourselves in a dangerous or stressful situation. We desire to walk in peace, but it is so easy for us to fall into things like worry, anxiety, frustration, irritation, etc.
That is why God has given us the gift of His peace--to help us through those trying times. The gift has already been given to us, and we can have it if we want it, but it is up to us whether or not we choose to receive it. That is what Jesus said in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
God has already given us peace, and now it is up to us to choose not to fear and worry. It short, we have peace at our disposal, but many of us choose not to walk in it. I suspect that is because we have something in our human nature that likes to worry, fret and be anxious.
God wants to teach us how to walk in His supernatural peace through the most difficult of circumstances. How does He do that? A lot of times, He does it by "giving us practice" in slightly-less-difficult situations. In short, He throws us into a situation where our normal human response is to worry and fret, then He invites us to trust Him and receive His peace.
God brought me into one of those peace-teaching situations for the past seven days--technical problems basically closed down my ministry for a week. From my perspective, the timing could not have been worse--I had just announced four new courses with a short registration time. Twelve hours later, everything went down--the web page (including the link to register for the class), email lists, and all sorts of other things. Furthermore, from a technology standpoint, the situation looked completely hopeless--technical problems that just could not seem to get fixed.
My normal reaction to that type of situation is to first work as hard as I could to try and fix it, then to get frustrated, anxious (and sometimes angry) when I could not get anywhere in fixing it. Given what I know about myself, I should have been freaking out those seven days that GodSpeak was shut down. But for some reason that I can't humanly explain, I wasn't. God's gift of peace settled over me. I did not do anything to cause it, I did not use any techniques to "walk in peace"--it was a gift from God.
The more time that this problem closed GodSpeak down, the more the Lord met me. He began to show me things, both about the problem itself and about how He was working with me in it. He showed me how He had been actively working in my life the past few weeks to prepare me to receive His gift of peace. About 3 or 4 weeks ago, God began asking me to give Him a higher priority on my time. Even thought I had a lot of pressures and demands on my time, God wanted me to set aside about an hour a day just to abide in Him. It was a time of worship and relationship prayer, and God would usually meet me during these times. The worship and drawing closer to Him helped me to center my spirit in Him; it made me abide in His presence and it filled me with more of His life. And that is what gave me the ability to tap into His peace.
Another thing that God showed me was that this technical meltdown was really a spiritual warfare attack from the enemy. The devil is trying to stop me from teaching these the four classes because he knows that people will grown in the prophetic. He is afraid of what the students will do to advance God's kingdom (and tear down his kingdom) as they grow in their gifting and anointing.
That revelation encouraged me about these classes. I had originally offered them simply because God told me to, but I wasn't very excited about teaching them. Now that I realize they are a threat to the emeny, and I am starting to get excited imagining the things that God is going to do through the students as they grow in their gifting. Yes, the devil messed up the registration period and they will have to be delayed or rescheduled, but now I know that they are strategic to God's plans to raise up His people to move in His power and anointing.
I found myself able to rest in the Lord in the mist of that critical situation which was closing down my ministry. As I rested in God, He began dropping creative solutions to my "problems" into my spirit. He showed me how to do things in a different way to solve my technical problems. His ideas worked and things are pretty much fixed now. God is good!
I am still astonished at how God's peace rested on me in a situation where I would normally get very stressed out. That peace was God's gift to me, and it is a wonderful gift. In fact, peace is God's gift to each of us. God intends for His peace and provision and protection to settle over every one of His own.
Even if you aren't in a stress-producing situation right now, I can almost guarantee that you will face at least one by this time next year. God doesn't protect us from every difficult situation; He chooses to allow us to walk through some of them so we can grow and overcome. His desire is that we remain saturated in His peace in the midst of the stress. He wants Isaiah 43:2 to be a reality in our lives:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
We will pass thought the fire of difficulty or hardship, but we will never pass through it alone. God is always with us and He is ready and able to help us in it. God doesn't want us to feel afraid or stressed or anxious or frustrated in those times. That is why He has given us His gift of peace. It is not something that He will give to us later on--Jesus already gave it to us in John 14:27. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." We have access to it right now. But Jesus also gave us a charge--He holds us responsible to receive His peace and apply it to our situation. That is why He said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
In short, it is your decision whether or not you use the peace He has already given to you. You get to choose how you will react--either to be filled with His peace or to be filled with worry and anxiety. Which one would you like to choose?