This is a guest post from Marina Abdel Malak - a FrAnthony.com favorite when it comes to guest posts. In her previous posts, Marina spoke about her battle with ANOREXIA NERVOSA and how God got her through it. Thanks to God, Marina has overcome her illness and therefore has become an inspiration to many people (including me!). And Marina is now more than just an online blogger...she is now a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! Way to go Marina! And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Our generation has witnessed numerous events that have, to some extent, made us aware of how much unrest there appears to be around the world. My first experience or realization of this came when I was around seven years old. My family and I heard on the news that a girl my age in another city had been abducted after school. I didn't quite understand what this meant, but my parents kept telling me to never approach or speak with a stranger. Some years later, “September 11” happened and again, I became exposed to the 'evil' in this world. I heard about the wars against weapons, kidnappings, etc.
I remember a time at school when we had to explain what we wished we could have...and it could be anything at all. Although I was only eight years old, I knew what I wanted. I told my class that I wanted WORLD PEACE.
It seems that now more than ever, the world has become filled with numerous dangers. There is so much crime, war, unrest, anger, and sadness around the world. But we don't have to look far - it actually starts within our own lives. I'm not going to focus on the wars around the world - although they are important, too. I prefer to focus on a different kind of peace; that is, the 'peace' that we may get from this world.
What IS peace? And how do we get it? Sometimes, peace means being at a quiet beach and reading a good book. At other hectic times, peace simply means having time to sit and enjoy a nice meal without stressing over the worries of our lives.
The world has derived numerous ways to attain peace. Have you heard commercials that say 'you'll have a peaceful mind when you buy ____ that does _____ for your life!'? It could be a new car, a higher MasterCard limit, the latest phone, a new weight loss product, etc. The world bombards us with various ways to attain peace. Why? Because peace is something everyone wants…but so few are able to find.
The interesting thing is that none of these things in the world actually give us peace. Sure, they may provide us with temporary feelings of relaxation or pleasure, but soon enough, we are challenged with yet another problem, and we are again left feeling frustrated and at unrest. And it is at these times, often when we feel most vulnerable or tired, that we see how amazing and long-lasting God's peace is.
Take a look at John 14:27. Christ says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid".
Christ contrasts His peace with that of the world. Why? Because God KNOWS that the world tries to offer us it's temporary and false promises of peace. God knows that we will be constantly challenged, tired, scared, and hopeless. And He knows that we will naturally want all of this to end.
And more often than not, we turn to the world for peace before God. But after a while, we notice that what the world gives us isn't really peace. It isn't the real, satisfying peace we were looking for. At these moments, we remember God. And we realize that all this time, God's peace is the only thing that truly puts our hearts and minds at ease. Christ tells us in this very verse: His peace is unique and not like the world's. And when we get His peace, we should not be afraid or troubled! This is so comforting.
But how do we get this peace from God? Personally, I feel God's peace the most when I ASK FOR IT (sounds too simple right?).
Well it is simple! It can be a simple prayer, such as during a moment of weakness or distress. I've even had times when I complain to God and tell Him that I'm tired of my struggles and simply want to feel Him. After this prayer, I almost always instantly feel better. Just talking to God and letting Him know that I am tired and can't be satisfied unless He takes control makes me feel comforted. The problem is not that God's peace is hard to get...it's that too often, we forget to ask God for His peace - we either try to find peace through the world, or we become so entrapped in our problems that we ignore God.
Through my struggles, I have learned that only God can offer true and pure peace. After nearly dying in the ICU on life support, I was done with my life. I was angry, tired, and disheartened. What kept me going? To be honest, on many days, I complained to God. I told Him how tired I was, and I questioned why He was allowing this to happen to me. But time and time again, all my visitors told me to pray. “But I am praying” I cried! However, I wasn't praying for God to fill me with His peace. I was complaining to God - which is okay...but I didn't ask God to help me afterwards.
I think that we often get so consumed with our troubles that we try too hard to fix them ourselves. While God does want us to work in the world, He also wants us to know that we can't do it on our own. We need His help and His peace. You're probably familiar with the phrase, 'do your part and God will do the rest'.
Well, let's try applying that to this: do your part, but pray. And when you pray to God and let Him know your problems, don't forget to ask Him for His peace. God's peace is unlike anything else. It makes us feel calm and relaxed. It gives us faith and hope that somehow, things will work out. I may not know what is happening and why this is so, but I trust God and I know that it will work out for the good.
In the meantime, I will pray for God to grant me His peace so that I may continue to fight and deal with whatever may come my way. I know that the world's peace is temporary, but that God's peace is long-lasting and true. God's peace is available to us at no cost. All it takes is prayer and faith. With God's peace, we need not be afraid. Christ tells us this in John 14:27 – “…let not your heart be troubled. Be cheerful, for Christ has overcome the world” (John 16:33)!
For discussion: Do you think that calling on God can help you feel more peaceful and comforted? Why or why not?