House of Peace
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
In my addiction, I knew nothing but turmoil and chaos. I believed in one thing, but I continually behaved in a manner that was completely contrary to that belief. This discord tore me up inside as I lived in constant conflict with myself. In my angst, I prayed to God, asking for his peace. Looking back though, I can see that my request was absurd. I wanted God’s peace, but I wasn’t willing to do what it took to abandon the thing that was causing my internal conflict.
In today’s passage, Paul taught that when we live in God’s presence, bringing him all our worries, we will be filled with a supernatural peace. This metaphor isn’t in the passage, but I’ve come to see God’s peace as a house into which he’s invited me to find shelter from the storms of life. He beckons me into this house of peace and when I choose to dwell in it, I experience a calm which surpasses all understanding. We’re not promised that the storms of life will stop. We’re just promised shelter and peace, even though the storms may still rage.
There are house rules though. I couldn’t continue in my addiction and live in the house of peace. I don’t see it as God standing there, preventing me from entering his house. It’s just the way he made me, the house, and the world. As soon as I try to enter God’s peace, while clinging to my self-destructive behavior, I ruin it. God’s peace is where I find shelter from the storms of the world and when I try to bring the storms in, I wreck it.
If our lives are in turmoil, we must look to God for peace. He isn’t a genie in the sky though, who fixes all our circumstances so that we can stop worrying. Instead, he beckons us to him, asking that we bring him our fears, worries, and anxieties. He asks that we daily cast them on him, living in his presence. To do so, we must be willing to consider how we are contributing to our own misery. We must be willing to abandon that which is destroying us. In doing so, we will find hope, joy, and peace in God’s presence.
Sometimes God fixes our circumstances and sometimes he doesn’t. Our situation isn’t where we find our peace though. We find peace, despite our circumstances, by living in God’s presence. To dwell with him we must always be willing to abandon our misery for his peace. That’s more than a fair trade.