Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble. Psalm 119:165 (NASB)
Have you ever, or even recently, had one of these thoughts:
“Will this ever end?”
“Why us again?”
“I can’t take this much longer.”
“How could God let this happen?”
“I guess I’m not good enough.”“This feels hopeless.”
If you have, I want you to know that you aren’t alone. And, not just in the sense that people in the past have emotionally and painfully expressed these same things.
But, right now. At this moment. All around the world. Very likely people you know, and quite possibly people you love, are going through storms that make peace elusive and hope a fleeting thought. You are not alone.
You see, when chaos abounds and troubles surround us, torrents of insecurities, anxieties, fears, and worries can fill our minds and hold us hostage to a rising tide of hopelessness. It creeps into not just the issue or issues at hand, but even into areas of our lives where things are truly going well. In these situations, peace seems as difficult to grasp as a feather dancing through the air on the back of a brisk wind. Just when we think it’s within our reach, a new issue blows it in a new direction, leaving a vacuum in our minds that backfills quickly again with more anxiety, more insecurities, more fears, and more worries.
But…what if there is hope to hang onto as we go through these trials? What if, even in the most impossible of circumstances and most ferocious of storms, peace could be the prevailing sentiment that still allows us to live with joy and purpose?
I believe we can.
And I’m not alone either.
In Psalm 119:165, we gain a glimpse into how the Psalmist found great peace and stability, no matter the circumstance:
“Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”
Did you catch that? Finding peace and stability in the midst of life’s storms is improbable, if not impossible when we are relying on our own abilities. We are the ultimate yo-yo when it comes to emotions expressed and felt based on the rising and falling tides of our circumstances. We will absolutely succumb to the temptation to marinate on hopeless thoughts like the ones expressed above – thoughts that do reconcile with both who God is and the amazing way we can live with God in us.
No, peace won’t be found through our own efforts or merit. The peace that transcends all understanding – the exact type we need during difficult times – is found in God’s Word, and as the Psalmist says, in the love of Thy law, or Word.
Irrational Peace. Eternal Results.
Let’s look at the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. If there’s anyone in the New Testament that you would point to and identify as someone who loves God and His Word, Paul would be my pick – and very likely in most people’s top 3. In verse 22, we find Paul and Silas being brutally beaten and then thrown into prison after they encountered a possessed “slave-girl” and Paul commanded the spirit “in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her” (vs. 18). The spirit left, but so did the profit she had been raising by fortune-telling for her owners, angering them and leading to their torture and imprisonment.
Talk about an impossible situation…a 100-year type of storm! Their imprisonment was a direct result of following the Lord’s lead and being open to Him accomplishing His will through their lives. They did nothing wrong nor ‘earned’ this situation. They simply freed a tormented girl in the sweet and powerful name of Jesus. And this is where they wind up?
If we’re honest, many of us find ourselves so focused on the hows, the whys, the whats, the whos, and even ‘fairness’ of our storms that we lose our focus on the One who can navigate us through them – on sails of peace and joy, moved by His prevailing winds, effective in His work through our lives.
Paul and Silas, as we see in verse 25, experienced peace and joy while in immense pain and imprisonment: “…about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God” – in jail! As we read on, we see how they became lights in a dark world and testimonies to other prisoners short on hope and belief in God. Ultimately, they could even speak “the word of the Lord” to the jailer and his household, leading to belief in Jesus and their salvation.
Their focus on God and love for Him and His Word allowed them to experience personal peace during temporary storms with results that echoed into eternity.
How? Well, they loved God, and they loved His Word. And it radically changed their lives.
As we look back and into the entire chapter of Psalm 119 (in addition to verse 165), it’s obvious that the Psalmist loved the Lord and His Word. It’s really all he wanted to talk about and share with others. And if you think about the idea of love for a moment, it makes complete sense.
You see, when you love something, you spend time with it. You prioritize it. You pursue it. You treasure it. It becomes what you talk about and think about, what you crave more of, and what you want to share with others.
And when that ‘thing’ you love, spend time with, prioritize, pursue, treasure, talk about, think about, crave, and want to share with others is God and His Word? Well, now you’re talking about a person who experiences irrational peace in their storms, becomes a testimony and light to others going through their own storms, finds security and stability no matter the circumstances, and is someone available to God for uses that can echo into eternity.
Loving the Word
Is a love of God and His Word leading to a lasting peace in the midst of your storms? If not, again, you’re not alone. Maybe you truly love the Lord and His Word but succumbed this time from the assault of one too many waves. Don’t beat yourself up – God’s not done with you and He’s here in your storm. Turn your eyes back to Him.
Maybe it’s been a while since you have met with God since He has been an active and purposed part of your life. Don’t beat yourself up – God’s not done with you and He’s here in your storm. Turn your eyes back to Him. Let Him be Who He is uniquely qualified to be – your Lord and your King, your Peace.
Regardless of how you approached your storms yesterday, or earlier in the day, God is inviting you now to approach them with His peace. He’s inviting you to rekindle that love and be with another group of people that are experiencing life-changing peace through their love for God and His Word.