Monday, August 6, 2012

Peace in the face of real fear (John 20:19) with a story from Tim Hansel.

SCRIPTURE: John 20:19 (NIV)
When the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

STORY as told by Tim Hansel:
In my late twenties, a bunch of my friends and I decided to sail around the world. I have to admit, though, at the time I was a bit worried. I hadn't even sailed before. I was uneasy and anxious. So I spent a lot of time reading the Bible and praying about it, until it dawned on me that God was whispering,
"Tim, I'll give you peace if you read some books on sailing. The reason you're anxious is not due to lack of prayer, but to your lack of sailing knowledge."
I wasn't unprayerful; I was unskilled. So I took a step I needed to take to "let" God work his peace in my heart. I began reading about sailing. 
There is a reality of Tim Hansel’s story played out in all of us and like him we feel that the only path to peace is through more prayer or more Bible study. Now, while prayer and Bible study are good and excellent disciplines, peace often comes through knowledge of what we are facing.

Everyone faces difficult and challenging times in his or her life. It unsettles the spirit and disturbs the soul. We can feel the stomach churning. The palms become sweaty. The mind becomes obsessed with all sorts of scenarios. Sleep is disturbed. We are not at peace. We face uncertainty. It is a natural instinct for the faithful to turn to God in our search for peace. It probably would be wise advice to also turn to seeking knowledge about that which has produced the uncertainty in our life.

Jesus offered the disciples peace because they had never faced this particular situation before. After all they all knew that he was dead, but now stood among them. By his presence he introduced an unknown. They were already griped by fear that they were being hunted down by the authorities. Their future was uncertain. Events were unfolding rather unexpectedly. Things were different, out of the ordinary. Then Jesus pops up. They needed reassurance. Reassurance brings peace.

And so it was with Tim Hansel. He need reassurance. It was revealed to him that gaining some knowledge of sailing would bring the reassurance that he sought. God was still the peace giver and God worked through a great knowledge of the subject. Whatever we might face today or this week God will give us peace, but sometimes we need to a do a little homework on the situation we are facing in order to realize God’s peace.

Thank you for being there when we need you most. Quiet our spirits. Grant us peace. And open our minds to a greater knowledge of what we are facing today. 

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