You know, until the Lord takes you through deep waters, I think most of us remain in that place where Paul described the early believers in I Cor 13, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” Until you have had your faith tested and you have been tried by fire, you tend to lean on your own sufficiency.
But in those great periods of suffering come your deepest growth, depth of understanding and surrender are developed and refined, if indeed you learn to choose to surrender to Him. It is my confession that I am still a baby in so many more aspects of my Christian life than I’d care to admit. When life has been easy, I have been a rock. I knew the biblical answers. I had confidence in my God and Lord, so I believed. But when suffering came, I was shaken. I found my faith was only strong when things were going well. But I became distraught when things weren’t going well for me or weren’t under my control. I hope I’m not the only one who can admit to this. God has NOT been my peace, my ability to control the various aspects of my life was my peace.
This year, I believe God has been asking me to make Him my peace. My “Jehovah Shalom.” Things have been so out of control this year. In fact, even for the 12 years prior, when I “knew” clinical depression. Talk about a lack of peace which comes from inside the raging storm of my mind!!!! Then He took that weight from me (it appears) but replaced it with great physical suffering. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
During my years with depression, I came to see it as God asking me to surrender control of my mind and even my ability to act and think in a holy way (as if any of us are capable of being sinless creatures no matter how hard we try on our own). I was hopelessly under the control of something that I couldn’t beat into submission; I could not squash it down with a power of my will. It became an exercise of humility and surrender under the mighty hand of God, and a new perspective of God’s reminder to me that His ways are not our ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. He was in this, yes, even in this!
I think I’ve grown in this area of allowing God to be my Jehovah Shalom this year. I’m probably more like a pre-schooler now. I pray I am underestimating it but I know my human heart, my self-reliant, self-sufficient human heart.
This entry is getting long so I’ll begin to bring it to a close. On this journey we’re on, this journey we make in the grace of our Savior, can you relate to my confession? Is your “peace” in how good you feel your life is going right now? Or is it in Jehovah Shalom, the God of Peace?
Just this past year, I was introduced to a new Christian musician who has ministered to my spirit so much. Many of Shannon Wexelberg’s songs speak of worship and surrender and touch me deeply. Meditating on the Word of God for me often comes attached to music; me and King David. Our spirits commune with the Lord through His gift of music. Music is the vehicle that opens up our hardened hearts, brings us to a place where we willingly let down our guard and then delivers us with a contrite spirit right into the presence of God, where He can start whittling away at our character and our self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.
This morning, I was listening to Shannon Wexelberg’s album, “I Have a Song” when one of her songs began (“Jehovah Shalom”) and I found myself in honest reflection, “Is God my Jehovah Shalom?” I know I want Him to be! I know it takes a confidence that flows out of the very heart of God Himself, from His Spirit, but also a surrender of my own weak spirit to His Holy Spirit’s control. Scripture tells us that His Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and He also promises that if we ask anything according to His will, He will do it. Sometimes we don’t know for sure what the will of God is (so we can have the confidence to pray expectantly to receive what we ask for), but I do know this: it IS the will of God that I make my God my Jehovah Shalom and I’m longing to make Him my Jehovah Shalom. My prayer is from the words of this song, “Jehovah Shalom.”
Jehovah Shalom (by Shannon Wexelberg) (watch a lyric video on YouTube)
“Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Shalom, You are my peace. You are my peace! In the darkness, Your presence wraps around me like a blanket of rest that covers me. When my heart is overwhelmed, You’re my comfort and my help. You are with me…. When the pain of my yesterday is before me, and the fear of the future floods my soul, You are singing over me deliverance and healing. You’ll never let me go. Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Shalom, You are my peace. You are my peace. Your spirit soothes me, fills and renews me. I am completely in need of You! Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Shalom, You are my peace. Yes, You are my peace. Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Shalom, oh You are, You are my peace!”
I say, Selah! And I echo the psalmist’s prayer, “Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Judges 6:24 “And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “The Lord is Peace”).”
You can find Shannon Wexelberg’s music on both Amazon and iTunes. This song is on her “I Have a Song” cd (Amazon link or ITunes link). Another of my favorites is her “Take Heart” cd (Amazon link or iTunes link).