Context: Today’s blog grew from a single moment a couple of days ago, when I saw that inner peace comes through voluntarily choosing to embrace God’s will for us, rather than fighting against it, or pursuing our own personal desires.
We say Christ’s familiar words so often, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10; RSV), but do we really mean them? Do we truly embrace God’s will, giving thanks in all circumstances, no matter what he sends? (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).
Perhaps we greet only things we think of as good, or desirable, as coming from God’s hand, whilst seeing everything we judge to be bad, unpleasant, or unwanted, as having nothing to do with him at all? (Job 2:10; NLT).
In fact, God sends all we experience: “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7; NIV). As the Book of Ecclesiastes advises: “Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realise that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life” (Ecclesiastes 7:14; NLT).
Trials and sorrows
Trials and sorrows are a normal, inevitable part of every human life (John 16:33; NLT). Our suffering is only increased when we deny or resist them, for it is useless to fight against God’s will (Acts 26:14; NLT).
Thus, the way to experience inner peace is by yielding to God. We can do this by actively choosing his will rather than our own, time after time: “Now yield and submit yourself to Him [agree with God and be conformed to His will] and be at peace” (Job 22:21; AMP; my emphasis).
So, as we remember that, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away,” let’s praise and thank God for everything, no matter what we must face and endure (Job 1:21; CSB).
Why embrace God’s will?
Some people may ask why embracing God’s will is more important than longing for, or pursuing, our own desires. There are several answers to this question:
- God shares our suffering (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).
- God speaks to us through every kind of suffering and pain (Job 33:19; TIB; Job 36:15; NIV).
- No matter how hard our lives are, God will be there to teach us (Isaiah 30:20; GNT).
- God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28; NLT).
Yielding to God
Paul specifically advises us to “…yield ourselves to God” (Romans 6:13; RSV), and a moment’s reflection will remind us of the huge consequences which can flow each time we do this. Think, for example, how differently events might have turned out:
- If Mary had not said; “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” during the Annunciation (Luke 1:38; KJV).
- Or if Jesus had not prayed, “I want your will to be done, not mine” in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42; NLT).
Inner peace comes through accepting God’s will wholeheartedly
So let’s ask God to help us endure our suffering patiently, whilst continuing to serve him as best we can (Hebrews 10:36; NLT). As Paul writes: “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; NLT).
Incredibly, God’s peace can help us through even the most extreme suffering: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4; NLT).
The way to find inner peace is to embrace God’s will for us voluntarily, thanking him for everything he sends, both “good” and “bad”, with joyful hearts: “Submit to God, and you will have peace” (Job 22:21; NLT).
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).
Thrillingly, I received my last few rosary-making necessities yesterday, especially some 1mm waxed polyester thread and larger beads. This enabled me to make my very first complete rosary. It is admittedly very simple, but hopefully usable, and is already bringing me joy.