DO YOU REMEMBER GOMER PYLE? His famous statement was, “Surprise! Surprise!” Permit me to surprise you. There are some things that I just don’t know! And neither do you.
When I walk into my garage, get into my car, and turn the key, I don’t really know if the car will start. When I drive down the street I am believing it will be a safe journey. I make plans for tomorrow, but I don’t know if I’ll be around, make it through the night.
I have so many questions about life, things that happen; why people suffer, why this and why that? I just don’t know why my heart hurts. Why did things happen the way they did? Will I ever make it? Where is God when I suffer? You’ve been there, haven’t you!
Things happen in life that seem to be disastrous. You may have unsolvable marriage problems. Your business may be on the verge of bankruptcy. You went to a formal banquet with your employer and you coughed tea through your nose. You stumped your toe on the bed frame. You or a family member developed a devastating health crisis. Why, O Lord, why?
The natural response to bad things is to say, “God, if you loved me, why did you let this happen?”
Surprise! Surprise! We don’t need to know everything. What we need to know is the comfort in knowing that the One Who is in charge knows exactly the answer and He has the power to work things out to our good and His glory!
How does this work?
“Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in —insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.
“Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.
“So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? ‘Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!’ Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.”
Colossians 2:11-15, 18-23 (msg)
In my book, Write It On My Heart, some of my readers were puzzled about the chapter on Peace. I think it was because I used the word, ESSENCE! It is the last chapter of the book. I quote:
“Eureka! I’ve got the answer. It suddenly dawned on me. Essence! (Remember that word.) We want stuff now. No waiting in line, no diversions, no excuses, no problems, no sorrow, no worry, no hurt, no pain, no misunderstanding, no suffering, no stink, no bum-rap, and no complaints! Sorry, Charlie! It ain’t a-gonna happen on this earth!” There is a Greek word, that means slave – δοῦλος. It is used all through the Bible in the context of surrender to the will of God through Christ. “So make up your mind. If you are going to follow the Master, give it up! Surrender! There is a peace that passes all understanding. It goes far beyond your pain. It goes far beyond your sorrow. If you want that liberating release from misunderstanding, blame, and God-questioning hurt, you just gotta make up your mind to be a slave of the one who is saving you for eternity. That’s the essence of it all!”
Jesus, in John 16:33 says: “In the godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world!”
“Coming to Jesus,
My Savior I’ve found
Wonderful peace, wonderful peace.
Storms in their fury may rage all around;
I have peace, sweet peace.
Peace, peace, wonderful peace!
Peace, peace, glorious peace!
Since my Redeemer has ransomed my soul
I have peace, sweet peace.