I hear many passionate prayers of people who plead with God for the removal of some kind of external trouble or circumstance. I certainly can understand why because these difficult and troubling circumstances are both difficult and troubling! I've prayed this prayer and so have you. Welcome to the human race.
But think about this for a minute. Does your help come from removing the difficulty outside of you, or does it come by strengthening and transforming that which is inside of you? Christians who seek external change before working on the internal transformation of themselves have not truly discovered God's ways. Jesus slept below deck in the ship caught in a raging storm while everyone panicked. Why? Because what was inside of Him changed His response to what was outside of Him. He didn't need the storm to go away because the storm within had been dealt with.
The truth is, you and I can't "pray away" circumstances. Some are within our control and we need wisdom for decision making. God will give us wisdom if we ask. Some circumstances are created for us by others who do not make wise choices. In those cases we need godly responses that seek healing, help, forgiveness, prayer, aide, love and compassion. All of these are birthed from an inward change. Still, there are things we are subject to due to nations and laws. We can respond as non-anxious, godly, fruit-of-the-Spirit bearing people if the inward has changed. God promises to change the inward.
If you find yourself constantly looking to the "waves around you" and wishing you could command them to be quiet so you can have peace, then you need a change of perspective. How quiet and at peace is the "inward you?" To the degree you have inner peace, the outward takes care of itself.
Today, may you be truly at peace, though the world around you be in turmoil.
Where does your held come from? Christ in you... the hope of glory.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.
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