How do you get peace in a really bad situation? You may be in the fight of your life financially and about to lose your home. It may be that you've been diagnosed with lung cancer as my father-in-law was. It may be that your marriage is falling apart. You fill in the blank. We're either headed into a crisis, in the midst of one, or coming out of one. Now, coming out of one is great. We can see what God was up to in part, and we get a measure of peace from that. But how can we get peace if we're headed into or in the midst of a crisis? God tells us how to do just that in Philippians 4:4-9.
1. Focus on God instead of your situation.
That's easier said than done, but that's what Paul means when he says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). He's not saying that we're happy about what we're going through; he's not even saying to rejoice in our difficulties. He's saying rejoice in the Lord, and that's something altogether different.
Biblical joy is the knowledge that God is in control of your circumstances and allows only that which is good for you into your life (Romans 8:28). That's why James says to consider it joy when a trial comes your way (James 1:2). It's not that the trial brings joy; it's what God is doing for us through the trial; His good work is coming into our lives. Because we know that, we consider the trial joy; we rest in the Lord. In essence, we worship Him. That's what Job did when he lost his possessions and his family; he said, "Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).
The morning my father died was sad; not only were we very close, but it pained me to see my mother suffer as well. At the same time, we knew that God was involved in every detail and was doing a good thing in our lives through our hurt. As we focused on that, we were able to worship, find joy, and tell others about the goodness of God and the good times we had with my dad. A couple of deacons from the church arrived within an hour of his passing. As they came into the room, we were laughing about some story as we'd been reminiscing, and one of them made the comment, "Somehow I knew there would be joy in this house today." Again, it's not that we were happy about my father's death. But we forced ourselves to focus on God and in so doing we found joy.
But that's only the beginning; we can't stop there because Satan and the flesh have a way of coming back to bite us.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash