“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” John 14:27 TPT
There are these things in life we can’t avoid, because the collective picture is always greater and beyond the control of just our own paintbrush – it involves the sometimes wonderful but sometimes fateful, strokes of others too. We get rejected by people we love; when we would do all we could to remain in that love. People pass away, when we would have them stay alive. Natural disasters occur, when we would rather live in peace. Friends choose to stop being friends, when we’d do all we could to reconnect. We lose, when we’d rather win. We fail, when we’d rather succeed. Tones we didn’t expect might appear in our meeting with another human or experience, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. After a few knocks, or some mixing of unpleasant tones …we eventually might feel more inclined to just, throw our hands in the air, to resign from the harsh reality before us.
My various ideas of who I and how life should be, at times entirely disintegrate, and when this happens, it is almost always terrifying before it can be anything better. Often our fears are met head on when control is pried from our hands – sometimes this is a choice of our own, but often it’s not. It is at this moment we might stare at the canvas before us and be horrified at what it has recently become.
Having to let go (whether by choice or force) of what used to be a good and beautiful thing, or what I was hoping would be a good and beautiful thing, before seeing or touching evidence of another seems to always require the engagement of faith to move forwards, in what can initially be a very dark, unpleasant room. In this, I am reminded of Noah, building his ark solely on the premise of God’s word, while there was at first, no sign of rain. But that ark was what would eventually save him and his family. The deeper the loss, the more it’s going to seem ridiculous – insane even – but faith is always required to carry us back towards the light.
When it all falls through, I am forced to stand face to face with the painful reality of my fragility, my inability to have control over the outcome of each and every situation. But in accepting this, I am also offered what is quite a radical opportunity; to meet more deeply in my heart, with the character of The Father God. And when I meet him in this state, it is almost as though it is with less obstacles blocking my view or perception of who he really is; the less I have, the more I might be enabled to see his truest most spectacular colours. Moreover when his brush strokes meet with my own, I can be assured I won’t ever be horrified by a clash. Instead I’ll be met with a deeply personal, heart-warming harmony.
It seems when these things once held so tightly are lost, we are offered the opportunity to see and experience of God, what we before only perceived in our minds. Not only can the love and security of God be found in our dreaming and hoping forwards, but it is almost as if we are forced to experience the profound reality of the character of God, in our falling backwards.
I wonder, if our falls and our losses, when faced head on, can turn out to be an even greater blessing, because we in turn will find him. Perhaps we just might find, that the very fall or colour we were most afraid of, will soon reveal (though not without pain) to our heart to a greater degree, a God of beautiful colours – who was holding us and loving us and guiding us all along. We may have always believed he had the capacity to hold us, to love us, to be gracious to us, but our falling backwards will confirm to our heart the reality of this capacity. Indeed, it is scary to fall, to be met with an unexpected mess on the canvas, but it can actually pave the way for new life if we let his reality catch us and his strokes guide us forward.
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” John 16:33 TPT