Tag Archives: My peace Ieave you

Jesus promises His peace, whatever adversity we are going through.

Go Your way, your son lives.

A nobleman’s child was at the point of death. He begged Jesus, “Come down to my house before he dies!“ Jesus said, “You people will not believe unless you see signs and wonders.“ The man said again, “Come down…“ Jesus spoke the word: “Go your way, your son lives.“ The man believed him and went his way. (John 4: 46-54)

How often do we want the Lord to come into our circumstances until we see that He has changed them? We stay in the place of fear until we see the miracle. But the Lord tells us that He is in them already; He asks us to believe that promise before we see the difference that He makes. That father had to make a choice: believe the words of Jesus, or keep begging Him to come down to his house to heal the boy – maybe even thinking that his status as a nobleman would hold some sway. And he didn’t just live down the road: we learn at the end of the passage that his house was at least a day’s journey away. He had to walk away from the Healer, holding only onto His words, knowing that his son would probably be dead by the time he arrived if those words weren’t true.

We went to Liverpool to a football match recently, to watch one of the early games in the Champions League competition. We had hospitality tickets, which included a coach from the hotel to the ground, and then a return coach from the ground back to the hotel. With 50,000 people pouring out of the stadium after the game it was very reassuring to know that the coaches would be there waiting for us after the game. We were told at the hotel where the coaches will be picking us up, and that it wasn’t the usual location. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the announcement because I knew (so I thought) that we would see where the coach would be dropping us off.

However the coach left the hotel too early for our liking, so after the hospitality meal we decided to book a taxi for half an hour later. When we got to the ground I realised I had forgotten where the coach pickup point was to be. I have to say here that catching buses, trains and planes has always been a particular point of anxiety for me: I have always wanted to be certain that I would be at the right place in plenty of time to make my journey safely. So a dark blanket of panic started to fall: where would  the coaches be? How would we get back to the hotel if we didn’t find them? It was too far to walk and there would be no taxis for hours… “Jesus! Come quickly! My son is dying!“

With Anne’s help, I was able to trust that the Lord was in control. “Go your way. Your son lives.“

I regained my peace, knowing that we would either find the coaches or get back to the hotel another way without having to face the walk. And we did: despite being given some directions we never did find the coaches, but we were able to get a taxi once the crowds had dispersed (which wasn’t long, to our surprise) after a wait of only a few minutes, and we arrived back at the hotel in time to relax in the bar and enjoy some post match TV. And here is the important point: it wasn’t just that we got back to the hotel okay, but that God did something in my heart that will last longer than the journey from Anfield (the ground) to our hotel: He didn’t just deal with the journey but He dealt with my anxiety. That journey is over, but I know that the anxiety which has plagued me for so long on my life‘s journey is also defeated, and I know that whenever I am going I can go on my way in peace.

We won the game. Jesus won the competition once and for all at Calvary. Life has defeated death. The Cross has spoken. Do we have any “sick sons?” Because we can go our way, trusting that our circumstances live, even when it seems that they are at the point of death.

Uphill and Downhill

Uphill, downhill

Sometimes life is a struggle, and it seems like we are pedalling hard uphill in the lowest gear, but hardly moving at all; and sometimes it’s just freewheeling all the way as every button we press seems to make something happen, and everything we do works the first time. It can seem like the same applies in our spiritual lives: one day the heavens seem like brass, God is busy somewhere else and hasn’t got time for us, and in the flesh seems to be winning on every front in its war against the spirit; whereas on another day you sense the presence of God with you in an almost tangible way, you see Him sovereignly sort out a mess in your life, or you see someone healed or lead them to the Lord. We all want every day to be like this, and there can be a temptation to think we are “getting something wrong” if it isn’t happening.

The accuser is always looking for a place where his lies can stick, because this is not the reality at all. We are promised peace with persecutions, and His presence – whether we feel it or not – in adversity (Isaiah 43:2). Pauls tells the Corinthians that he “dies daily” and ”stands in jeopardy every hour.” (1 Cor 15: 31-31) We’ve signed up to a training camp, not a holiday camp. If life seems to be a struggle our words of comfort are not ”There, there; it will all get better soon,” but “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13); and that we can “count it all joy” when life is difficult because “the testing of (our) faith produces patience” (James 1: 3).

In His grace God does give us wonderful “downhill days,” because He knows that we need them; and there are times when do indeed reap in joy after sowing in tears (Psalm 126:5). But when Jeremiah asks why things are so hard, the Lord answers:
“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you,
Then how can you contend with horses?
And if in the land of peace,
In which you trusted, they wearied you,
Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5)

Having said that, of course not many of us relish the prospect of the uphill sections of the journey. As we fly downhill with the wind in our faces we don’t say: “Hooray! There’s a steep climb ahead!” So what is God’s perspective? His ways are not our ways and His thoughts not our thoughts. He doesn’t measure how far we have come or how fast we are going, or even how high we have climbed. And it is God who gives the increase, not our own efforts, so we cannot take the credit for any fruit that we may have borne.

What matters most to our Father, and in fact what matters most to us as well, is this: that we stay upright. We particularly need to remember this when it seems that the going is easy, because it’s on the downhill runs that the falls can be most painful.

“For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
The upright will see His face.”
(Psalm 11:7)

Next time: off-road.