A snow day in my town today, Sunday, January 8, meant that church was cancelled. I miss gathering with other Christians at our church so my family and I read the Bible and prayed in our family room at home. We focused on Romans 5:1-5 and talked about how we have peace with God and in God. This was not a deep discussion on justification by God through our faith in Him, but truly, I knew in my heart that peace depends on the condition of one’s heart.
Here’s Romans 5:1-5 from The Message:
5 1-2 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
The NIV Bible version says it like this:
Romans 5:1-5: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Somehow in our discussion, I thought of how peace can sometimes seem far away especially on mornings when some of us seem irritable. My family is precious. I love them, but all of us can, on certain days, wake up and feel grumpy or have an issue that seems major because time is ticking away. Getting up extra early for an early start school has been rough on all of us this year as one of my children started high school. I mentioned to my family that God’s peace is still there even though some mornings may seem to be anything but peaceful. It is in those moments that we can pray and ask for the peace of God to be in us. The other choice is to feel that a school day is starting in chaos. I encouraged my kids to choose to pray and embrace the peace of God and not allow a rough start to the day affect their whole day and put a negative spin on it.
We know that peace can be in a special moment spent with family and friends or in the image of new fallen snow in the backyard. But peace can also take other forms. In the moments leading to final exams next week or during the exams, I will pray for God to settle my child and provide peace. Peace has settled in me when life has brought stress and huge responsibilities so I know God will provide it. I am thankful for the peace from God and want to instill the idea in my kids that peace is present. They must look for it because God’s peace doesn’t leave. Circumstances can hide it but peace is present.
I have faith in God who has given us peace. I think that my faith is what centers me when life brings its challenges. Sometimes, though, peace seems to evade me when I am in the middle of cleaning out a closet, going through my clutter, making decisions on what gets donated and what items stay in the attic. Other times, I can feel unsettled and lack awareness of peace from a busy day or from feeling too tired. When change comes around, I can feel like peace is just beyond my reach.
Faith allows me to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to orchestrate circumstances and allow peace to reign. I have prayed for my school’s new leader who will take the helm in the next week or so as my principal. Recently, our beloved principal was asked to go to another school to help them. I wasn’t expecting this abrupt change but it happened. I know that God will help my school’s staff and me to support the new principal. It seems that change can put peace on hold. Whatever happens, God is in control and has given me peace to accept and embrace the change in principal. I am excited about what God has planned.
It was so good to reflect today on the fact that I have peace because of my faith in God. He helps us “have it together” and stand in His grace and glory. I am allowing God’s Word to seep into my heart especially these words from Romans 5: “We know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”