Praying for Peace
Streams in the Desert is a classic devotional, still going strong after more than 80 years. Perhaps one of the reasons for its popularity is that each day speaks words of encouragement to people who are distressed or suffering. Take this entry, for example, which addresses the topic of seemingly unanswered prayers. “Often it is simply the answer to our prayers that cause many of the difficulties in the Christian life... . We pray to the Lord, as His apostles did, saying, ‘Increase our faith!’ (Luke 17:5). Then our money seems to take wings and fly away; our children become critically ill; an employee becomes careless, slow and wasteful; or some other new trial comes upon us, requiring more faith than we have ever before experienced.”
It’s enough to make a person stop praying! When I wrote a book entitled The Peace God Promises, I should have known better. As I told friends afterward, I wrote the book in what became the least peaceful season of my life. One after the other, the crises kept mounting. Pleading for God’s help, I couldn’t help wondering whether he was pulling some kind of celestial joke on me. If I could have set the tone for those months of “promised peace,” I would have been sitting on a beach somewhere enjoying perfect serenity. But in that setting, would I have had to wrestle so hard with the promises of peace that God has made to his people? Would I have been so keenly aware of my own need as I sat down to write every day? If God’s promises are real, if his truths are robust, then surely they should help me in my time of need. In fact, they did, though perhaps not always as soon as I wanted them to nor exactly how I had expected them to.
In the months that have followed, God’s peace has become more tangible to me than ever, though I can’t trace exactly how this happened. That’s why I would urge you not to give up, even if you have been seeking God’s peace and finding only turmoil. It may be God is answering your prayers in the only way that will yield more peace in your life in the years ahead.
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