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Peace in the midst of the storm…

In light of all the ‘craziness’ going on, I thought I would share something that God taught me long ago. I am thankful to God for this lesson as having peace in the midst of dire circumstances has served myself, and those around me well…all the credit goes to God.

It was 1996, I was working in the financial industry. We had just had our first child and I had begun paying back student loans, etc. My wife and I had begun “setting up” our life together post-college. My wife was trying to establish our house as a home, I was trying to ensure they had provision, which wasn’t easy fresh out of college, but we were doing it together.

Then the “hit” came. I was informed my position was being eliminated and consolidated in another location. I was given a choice to either become a bank teller, which didn’t pay enough to support a family so that would mean getting two jobs, or I could move to the new location and reapply in hopes of getting selected for the role…not exactly the cheeriest of options.

I began silently “freaking”. I wanted to remain steady for my wife and son, but inside I was churning. Questions swirled about and bounced off the corners of my mind. “What would happen to us?” “Would we be able to meet our financial obligations?” Would we become homeless?” “Could we eat?”

Further, my ego was taking a hit. I was taught to be strong, make my own way and pull myself up by my own bootstraps. Do what you gotta do to get the job done. I was willing to do whatever it took, but this is not what I envisioned. I had this picture in my mind of my working, climbing the ladder and providing a great life for my family. Now, my vision was being undercut.

Thankfully, God taught me an invaluable lesson that has served me greatly throughout the storms of life. I recall it vividly…I was spending time pouring my heart out to God in desperation when all of a sudden Psalm 46:10 popped into my head…”Be still and know that I am God”.

I stopped praying and listened. I guess that is why God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth. I needed to be quiet. In that stillness, came the still small voice of God teaching me this lesson. And here it is…

“Clay…why are you worried and anxious? Why do you fear. Do you think any of this is a surprise to Me?”

“Your issue is you fear losing control. You have lived in an illusionary state. You actually think you control more than you do.”

“Look around you…around your life. What do you actually control?”

Now think through this…what do I (God) control?”

“Yes…I want you to work hard (look to the ant)…yes I want you to exercise wisdom (James 1:5)…yes I want you to plan, but I will direct your steps.”

“You had a vision for the life of your family. Let that go and grab ahold of Mine that is greater!”

I left that time with God refreshed and at peace…only a peace He could give. Did the struggles and pain go away? Not at all. Did I still experience times of anxiousness and stress? Absolutely! But ultimately, His peace won over because of this valuable lesson.

So in this time of uncertainty…make plans, be wise, take care of yourself and those around you, but rest in God. Take advantage of this time to refocus priorities, reconnect with others, refresh yourself and your relationship with God. If you do not have a relationship with God…maybe this is a time to think through that also.

Clay