In this day and age people lead stressful lives. There are many pressures that affect people’s lives on a daily basis from financial pressures, job pressures, family pressures, and for many people to be successful in a way that society rates success. The media is another pressure telling you that you must have the latest car, the latest phone, an active sex life, and a thin waistline. So many people find it difficult to find peace in their lives. I spent many years on Wall Street and the pressure to deliver, make money, and earn an annual bonus was consuming. Many people just struggle to live paycheck to paycheck, and these days too many must depend upon the government and the states for assistance. If you are like me your mind is always going. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about something at work, or a financial challenge, or when trying to clear my mind and center myself for prayer my mind always wanders. This frustrates me personally, but is symptomatic of a broader issue and that is just how do we relax and find peace in our lives.
God asks us to trust Him and surrender to His will. This is difficult and challenging to do at times especially if God’s response is not the response we are looking for or expecting. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25-34:
Dependence on God
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?
27 Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
28 Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
29 But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.
30 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?
32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,* and all these things will be given you besides.
34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
It’s hard to sit there hungry and without money for food, and expect that God will have someone deliver a pizza to satisfy your hunger, but God does his work through others. Verse 33 is very important “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”. Trust in God comes from seeing His presence in the world in the form of loving acts from others. I went through a time back in 2007 when my mom was sick with terminal cancer and I found that the harder the situation the easier it was to see I had no control and that allowed me to step back and just say “I trust you God that you will make the right decisions for my mom and for my family”. Just watching all those people who took loving care of my mom through her final days was God in action. I felt God’s presence in the acts that I performed to help my mom and I even saw God in my mom through her loving comments and actions. This brought tremendous peace to me knowing God was in control. How much control do we have over the events that happen to us on a daily basis? True, we have some control, but frankly I found that there was more I couldn’t control than I could. The more we trust in God and surrender to His will the more we find the peace that only God can give us (John 14:27):
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
Giving up that control and surrendering to God’s will is tough for many people, but doing so allows us to find that peace we seek (Matthew 11:28-30):
The Gentle Mastery of Christ
28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
I ask you to bring this to prayer and ask God for help in surrendering control to God’s will. This week try asking yourself as you go through your day what do you control and what can’t you control? If you can’t control something than all you can do is trust in God’s will. The more you do this the easier it becomes and you will begin to find that peace that only Jesus can bring to our lives.