I woke up in the morning with my heart pounding. The details of my responsibilities for that day were whirling around in my mind making it unable to focus on any one thing. My soul felt unsettled. How was I going to get it all done today?
Emails, posting to social media, paying my mother’s bills, meeting with one of my ministry leaders for early coffee, a writing project that was overdue, studying for a Hebrew quiz, laundry, finding my desk underneath all the piles of folders, unopened mail, books, and pending projects that had been tossed on it—let alone processing it all. Out of sheer habit, I sat down with God for my morning quiet time with Him.
I read the words of Oswald Chambers:
Are you painfully disturbed just now, distracted by the waves and billows of God’s providential permission, and having, as it were, turned over the boulders of your belief, are you still finding no well of peace or joy or comfort; is all barren? Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus…Are you looking unto Jesus now, in the immediate matter that is pressing, and receiving from Him peace?…We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him. When one confers with Jesus Christ the perplexity goes, because He has no perplexity, and our only concern is to abide in Him. Lay it all out before Him and in the face of difficulty, bereavement and sorrow, hear Him say—“Let not your heart be troubled.”1
How is Chambers encouraging us to find peace in our contemporary culture of urgency?
- Recognize there will be times of feeling unsettled or distracted by overwhelming responsibilities.
And when those times come, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Chambers sounds like he’s describing his own personal experience. As the waves of “God’s providential permission” crash onto the shores of our lives, and as we seek to fulfill all of our responsibilities given to us from the hand of the Father, it’s easy to become distracted from the source of peace.
- Look up and focus on the calmness and peacefulness of Jesus continually throughout the day.
Whenever we do find ourselves in such an unsettled state of soul, it’s important for us to stop, look up at our source of strength, and take comfort in the “undisturbedness” of Jesus. In Him, there is no perplexity, there is no “undisturbedness,” there is no unsettledness. In Jesus we have clarity of mind…peace…and calm.
- Lay it all out before Jesus and hear him say, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.”
Describe the situation as it is to our Heavenly Father. What is confusing you? What is breaking your heart? What are the most pressing matters in your life? What is the most urgent responsibility that is trying to take over your soul and churn it into a frenzy? We must lay it out before God and allow the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. I give you my peace.”
I took a deep breath that day, closed my eyes, and prayed:
“I have no peace at the moment, Jesus. I’m distracted by the waves of the Father’s providential permission—all the hours of caring for my mother, my ministry responsibilities that are falling behind, the housework that isn’t getting done, seminary assignment deadlines looming, and isn’t there something in your word about taking a Sabbath? Although not all is totally barren, still, there is no well of peace, joy, or comfort.
“It’s just getting my heart and spirit to calm down! And this happens when I sit at your feet and reflect on you, Jesus. I pray I sit in your presence and receive your peace…your calm…your undisturbedness. You have no perplexity. I pray I continually talk things over with you. As I walk through my day, give me your clarity of mind, your peace, your calm.
“What is the immediate matter that is pressing in my life? Getting it all done, and the needed focus to prioritize. I lay everything in my life before you, all the difficulties I currently face, and all my own perplexity of time. Thank you for your words, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
“Slow my heart, calm my mind, settle my soul, Lord. Take away the agitation. I am looking to you, Jesus, and receiving peace from you. Amen.”
What helps you to find peace when an urgent matter is pressing in on your soul?