Some people feel secure being the child of a multi-millionaire, or knowing they can easily pull good grades. There is an even greater security in having a relationship with God.
God is powerful. Unlike us, God knows what will happen tomorrow, next week, next year, the next decade. He says, “I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning.”6 He knows what will happen in the future. More importantly, he knows what will occur in your life and will be there for you when it happens, if you’ve chosen to include him in your life. He tells us that he can be “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”7 But we must make a sincere effort to seek him. He says, “you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.”8
That doesn’t mean that those who know God will not go through difficult times. They will. If our nation encounters terrorist attacks, environmental or economic disasters, those who know God will be included in the suffering. But there is a peace and a strength that God’s presence gives. One follower of Jesus Christ put it this way: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”9 Reality tells us that we will confront problems.
However, if we go through them in relationship with God, we can react to them with a different perspective and with a strength that is not our own. No problem has the capacity to be insurmountable to God. He is bigger than all the problems that can hit us, and we are not left alone to deal with them.
God cares. God’s great power, which can be shown in our lives, is accompanied by his deep love. The future might be a time of world peace as never seen before, or maybe there will be more ethnic hatred and violence, more divorce, etc. In either case, no one will love us as much as God can love us. No one will care for us as highly as God can care for us. His Word tells us, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”10 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”11 And, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”12
Jesus Christ told his followers these comforting words: “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.”13 If you turn to God, he will care for you as no one else does, and in a way that no one else can.
Peace of Mind through God
We have no idea what the future holds. If it brings hard times, God can be there for us. If it brings easy times, we will still need God to fill that inner void we have and to give our lives meaning.
When all is said and done, what matters most? What really matters is that we are not separated from God. Do we know God? Does he know us? Have we shut him out of our lives? Or have we let him in? Through knowing him, he produces in us a changing perspective and gives us hope. Through being in a relationship with him, we can have peace in the midst of all circumstances.
Why must God be central to our lives? Because there is no real peace or hope apart from knowing him. He is God and we are not. He does not depend on us, but we must depend upon him. He created us to need his presence in our lives. We can try to make life work without him, but it will be futile.
God wants us to seek him. He wants us to know him and to have him involved in our lives. But there is a problem: we’ve all shut him out. The Bible describes it this way: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”14 We’ve all tried to make our lives work without God. That’s what the Bible calls “sin.”
Heather, quoted earlier, says concerning sin: “When I entered Stanford, I was not a Christian. The world lay at my feet then, waiting to be revolutionized. I attended political meetings, took classes on racism and social justice, and immersed myself at the community service center. I believed in the power within me to make a significant difference in the world. I tutored underprivileged elementary school kids; I ran the day camp at a homeless shelter; I collected leftover food to feed the hungry. Yet, the more I tried to change the world, the more frustrated I became. I confronted bureaucracy, apathy, and…sin. I began to think that maybe human nature needed a basic overhaul.”
Peace of Mind = Peace with God
Changing times and improved technology don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because our basic problem as human beings is that we’ve distanced ourselves from God. Our greatest problems are not physical, but spiritual. God knows this, so he provided a solution for our separation from him. He made a way for us to find our way back to him…through Jesus Christ.
The Bible says that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”15 Jesus Christ was crucified (an ancient form of execution) for our sins, in our place. He died, was buried, then rose from the dead. Because of his sacrificial death, we can come into a relationship with God — “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”16
It’s really rather simple: God wants to be in perfect relationship with us — so he made that relationship possible through Jesus. It’s then up to us to seek God and ask him into our lives. Most people do this through prayer. Prayer means talking honestly with God. Right now you can reach out to God by telling him something like this in sincerity: “God, I want to know you. I haven’t allowed you into my life thus far, but I want to change that. I want to take advantage of your solution for my separation from you. I am relying on Jesus’ death on my behalf so that I can be forgiven and be made right with you. I want you to be involved in my life from this day forward.”
Have you sincerely asked God into your life? Only you and he know for sure. If you have, you have a lot to look forward to. God promises to make your present life one of greater satisfaction because of your relationship with him.17 He promises to make his home in you.18 And he gives you eternal life.19
Melissa had this to say about God: “My mother divorced my father when I was very young, and I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I only knew that my father no longer came home. One day I went to visit my grandmother and I told her that I didn’t understand why my father would hurt me and then disappear. She hugged me and told me that there was someone who would never leave me, and that someone was Jesus. She quoted Hebrews 13:5 and Psalms 68:5 which say ‘I will never leave, nor forsake you’ and ‘He will be a father to the fatherless.’ I was really excited to hear that God wanted to be my Father.”