How do we find peace in this chaotic world?
There is chaos all around us. Anytime I turn on the TV or look at my phone it is swirling around me – from the KKK in Charlottesville, to nuclear threats, to political unrest, to celebrity suicide. And then there is the chaos of everyday life. From getting kids ready for back to school and keeping up with my to-do list.
But my God is a God of peace. And if I focus on Him, all the chaos falls away.
Chaos is nothing new. War, racial tension, family disagreements, and unrest have been here since sin entered the world. God didn’t create us to live in chaos. Our eyes aren’t meant to focus on the worries of the world.
Our eyes should be focused on Jesus.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:7,10
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. Psalms 119:165
Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. Psalms 34:14
How do we find peace in this chaotic world?
- Seek Jesus: Read the Bible every day. #DailyBibleReading
- Do a Self-Inventory: “Am I doing good in the world?” Do something good. Every day. Show kindness to a stranger. Do something loving for a family member. Pray for an enemy.
- Pray: Keep a prayer journal. Take your worries and hurts to Jesus.
- Praise God: Thank Him and praise Him.
Turn off your phone. Open your Bible.
Cry out to God with the good, the bad and the ugly.
My current Bible reading plan includes daily reading in the Old Testament, New Testament and usually either a Psalm or Proverb. Right now I am reading about the life of King David and it is very interesting (and encouraging) to read about the HORRIBLE things going on in David’s life and in Judah and Israel, juxtaposed with songs David wrote while experiencing these heartbreaking and terrifying experiences.
For example, today I read in 2 Samuel 3-4 about war and murder and gruesome executions. About husbands and wives being torn apart. About disloyalty and political strife. About a nation divided by leadership loyalties.
And then I turned to Psalm 59 and read David’s song. The song was written earlier – when King Saul was still alive and had sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him – but I still see the heart of David and how he cried out to God. I read the song of a man after God’s own heart.
In the midst of people trying to kill him, David cries out to God. He tells God about his fears. He asks God to rescue him. He begs for protection. He told God his situation. The good, the bad and the ugly. This wasn’t some nice prayer or pretty worship song. This was David pouring out his fears, anger, hurts to God. This was a son coming to his Father and begging him for mercy. This was a man who trusted God, but was hurting. This was a tortured man begging for a break from the pain.
God included this Psalm in the Bible. And many others like it. I assume if God wanted these many Psalms in the Bible – and said that David was a man after His own heart – that God wants us to call out to Him, just like David did.
God wants to know our whole heart. Not just the nice stuff. Not just the just the praises and thank-yous and lists of requests. He wants us to tell Him our fears and anger and hurts. He wants all of us. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Lessons from David and Paul for living through a season of pain.
David and Paul – two men living 1,000 years apart. Both chosen by God. Both given a special job and an important role in the history of Christianity. David’s calling was to lead Israel as the second king and be an ancestor to Jesus. Paul’s role was to bring the gospel to the gentiles.
God called both these men and equipped them to do their jobs.
But that doesn’t mean the jobs were easy or that their lives were pain-free. Quite the opposite. They were both persecuted, but by example, they both left us a map of how to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Before he was king, David was pursued by King Saul who was intent on killing him. David had several opportunities to fight back and kill Saul, but he didn’t. God had appointed Saul and David didn’t seek vengeance. Instead he spent his time hiding in caves and running away from his enemies. He didn’t get to see his family or worship God in the temple. He was constantly in fear for his life. He hadn’t done anything other than respect and honor Saul, but he was still a hunted man.
What did David do in this painful and scary situation? He trusted God. He called out to God – expressing his fear, anger and sadness. He also praised God. Psalm 57 is a song David wrote to God, while hiding in a cave. He was calling out to God for protection and praising God for his love.
Today in Acts, I read about Paul, who knew he would be heading into danger and possible death, but still he walked forward. He knew where God wanted him to go and do, and he did it. Regardless of the pain. Regardless of the punishment.
Paul did end up in prison many times. For several years he was actually forgotten in prison during a change of leadership. He was beaten. He was persecuted. How did he respond? He prayed. He praised God. He shared he gospel.
Honestly, I’m not going to pray for prison or torture or for enemies who want murder me. But I have experienced pain and I know that hard times will come. Death to loved ones. Eventual death to myself. Pain. Rejection. Times of sadness.
Pain is an inevitable part of life, but David and Paul set an example for what we should do in the midst of pain:
- Cry out to God – tell him your fears, anger, sadness
- Praise God
- Thank God
- Remain obedient to God . . . even when faced with trials
- Have faith
I’m not saying it is easy – at least it isn’t for me – but these men give us a map to follow when life is at its worst.
P.S. One of the things I love about reading through the Bible is meeting mentors. Real people who lived thousands of years ago who can mentor me on living life. If you are interested in reading through the Bible, check out the reading plans on TheBible.com or the YouVersion app. I’m currently reading through the Bible using the plan linked here. Please comment below if you are reading through the Bible!