Is peace of mind possible in an unstable world?

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No matter what happens in the world or in our own individual lives, is there a place to turn for stability? Can we look toward the future with hope, regardless of life’s and the world’s circumstances?

These days many people are seeing the value of God as their constant. The world around us is ever-changing, but God does not change. He is steady, reliable. He says, “Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. For I, the Lord, do not change.”1 God is always there. He can be counted on. He is “the same yesterday and today, and forever.”2 And God can make himself known, giving us a peace of mind through him, setting our hearts securely at rest.

Is Peace of Mind Possible?

Heather, a Stanford grad, put it this way: “To be in a real-life relationship with God is a staggering and beautiful daily reality. There is ‘cosmic companionship’ that I won’t trade the world for. I am deeply known and loved in a way I can only hope to adequately communicate.”

Steve Sawyer, a hemophiliac, looked for stability when he found out that he’d received HIV from a bad blood transfusion. At first Steve was in great despair. He blamed God. Then Steve reached out to God. The result: the last few years of his life, Steve travelled to countless college campuses (enduring great pain) just to tell fellow students how they could know God and experience the peace he had experienced in knowing him. God has said, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”3

Like Steve, others have learned that no matter what happens in this life, it’s not “the end of the world” — because this world isn’t the end.

The God of the Foxholes

Admittedly, many people wait until times get really rough before they turn to God. A military chaplain from World War II explained that “there are no atheists in the foxholes.” When life is rosy, people don’t feel like they need God. But that often changes when things get messy, when we realize we’re in the trenches.

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Caryn explains her path to God like this: “I thought I was a Christian because I went to church on Sunday, but I had no idea who God was. My senior year in high school looked much like my other three years. I spent most of my time getting drunk, high, or trying to find some way for someone to love me. I was dying inside and had no control over my life. It was when I realized how much I wanted my life to end that I knew when I went away to college I had to find some hope. It was then that I asked God to come into my life. He has shown me love, security, forgiveness, support, comfort, acceptance, and a purpose for living. He is my strength, and I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for him.”

Who knows what the future holds? Many may feel like they’re in a foxhole. Life can be a battle. Our peace of mind can be greatly shaken. At those moments when the heat is on, we often reach out to God. That’s okay, because God, the constant, is there and actually wants to be involved in our lives. He says, “I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no savior besides me. Turn to me and be saved…for I am God, and there is no other.”4

Yes, God can be thought of as a “crutch,” but it’s likely that he is the only truly legitimate one.

The Invisible Foxholes

Some people, however, turn to God even when things seem to be going well. John explained that: “By my senior year, I had achieved everything that people were telling me would make me fulfilled — having leadership roles in campus organizations, partying, making good grades, dating girls I was really attracted to. Everything that I wanted to do and achieve while in college came to pass — and yet I was still unfulfilled. Something was still missing and I had nowhere else to go. Of course, no one knew I was feeling this way about life — on the outside I didn’t show it.”

Even when things seem to go right, life can still present a foxhole — an internal one that’s invisible to the naked eye but felt in the heart. Becky described that phenomenon this way: “How many times have you thought that if you just had that piece of clothing, or that boyfriend, or got to visit some place, that then your life would be happy and complete? And how many times have you purchased that shirt, or dated that guy or visited that place and walked away feeling more empty than when you began?”

We don’t need failure or tragedy to feel the foxholes. Most often lack of peace results simply from the absence of God in our lives. Becky says of coming to know God, “Since then I’ve had many struggles and changes in my life, but everything I do takes on a new perspective knowing that I have a loving, eternal God on my side. I believe that there is nothing that God and I can’t handle together — and as for the completeness that I had searched so hard for, I had finally found it.”

With God involved in our lives, we can rest easy. As we get to know God and listen to what he says in the Bible, he brings about that peace of mind in our lives, because we know him. We see life from his vantage point, aware of his faithfulness and ability to take care of us. So no matter what the future holds, we can place our hope in God as our constant. He’s waiting to prove himself in our lives if we will turn to him and seek him.

Building Upon the Rock

Are you building upon something in your life? Believe it or not, every person is building upon something. Each of us has a foundation, something we’re putting our hope and faith in. Maybe it’s ourselves — “I know I can make my life a success if I try hard enough.” Or a lifestyle — “If I can make enough money, life will be wonderful.” Or even a time period — “The future is going to change things.”

God has a different viewpoint. He says it is shaky ground to put our hope and faith in ourselves, in other people, or in anything this world offers. Instead, he wants us to trust in him. He says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”5

It’s wise to have God involved in our lives for those times when the catastrophes come. But God’s intent is for us to have a more abundant life no matter what the circumstances are. He wants to have a positive influence on every area of our lives. When we rely upon him and his words, we are building upon the Rock.