Recently a friend asked me a question that went something like this: In the midst of all the uncertainty you’re facing, how do you still have peace? To be honest, I have often wondered the same thing, because “peaceful” isn’t a word that I would typically use to describe myself. But for some reason I have experienced an uncharacteristic peace over these past months—what Paul described as “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and what I like to call “a peace that doesn’t make sense.”
In just a few weeks, I’ll have…
- a house but no job
- expenses but no income
- a calling but no call
- a journey but no map
- a destination but no direction.
Not exactly peace-giving circumstances!
But I will also have then what I already have now: a God who cares for me, and who has proven himself faithful; not only in the pages of Scripture—which, I confess, can seem a bit too easy at times—but also in my own life. Five-and-a-half years ago, a lamenting phone call to my parents introduced me to a stranger who became a pivotal contact for landing in the pastoral role I am in today. Six months later a desperate prayer spoken with too little faith was answered as clearly and explicitly as any I can recall.
God has not always answered my prayers quite so clearly or immediately. He has not spoken to me as plainly as he seemed to speak to people in the Bible. In fact, I am not entirely certain what to expect if God were to speak as plainly; after all, as I read through the Bible I see him speaking through burning bushes, talking donkeys, women and men; I hear him speaking in whispers and bellowing voice, at midnight and midday and midmorning; he speaks through angels and through dreams and visions. The only thing usual about how God has spoken in the past is that it is almost always unusual.
So how is it I can have peace in the midst of uncertainty? How can I trust in a God I can’t see and sometimes don’t hear? To be honest, I can’t. Not on my own, anyway. But God has given me a gift: the gift of peace that doesn’t make sense.