Written by Shawn Naylor
During the summer before I started university, I participated in a football training camp. I developed a good reputation as a decent player among coaches and players alike. As a result, I made the dress list and was designated to see the field play. The stands were sold out. My parents even drove from four hours away to watch me play.
Then school started. I woke up on the morning of my first ever university football game, and I couldn’t eat anything. My thoughts were clouded. I started to believe I had made the wrong life choice. I had become paralyzed with fear. In the locker room, I struck up a conversation with God. I hadn’t really spoken to Him since before arriving on campus. I asked for peace.
I would love to tell you that after this request I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I did not. In fact, things seemed to magnify out of control. Questions and feelings of inadequacy plagued everything I did. I walked out of the tunnel onto the field only to hear thousands of people screaming. Again, the feeling of peace eluded me.
But I heard something halfway through the first play, which was the kickoff. Essentially, it’s a full sprint for 40 yards and then a collision with another human. Halfway through the sprint, the sound became so loud that it went quiet. I could hear my breath. In the juxtaposed silence, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me: “I knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.”
At that moment, peace came over me. God knew that I would be right here and He knew what I needed when I would need it. THUD! I just made the tackle, making the play for the team.
A similar thing happens in leadership and life. All these smaller situations culminate into a moment that weighs heavily on you. As it should, if you are sensitive to the happenings around you, you become aware of the delicate line between success and utter failure.
Could you imagine what Moses must have gone through in Exodus 16, on the day they were running out of food while wandering the desert? He must have second-guessed his choices as he faced all the complaining, disgruntled looks and murmuring from the people. The noise around him must have been deafening.
Then his response to the people, delivered from God, was, “Food will come from the sky.” Even though the Israelites had already seen God move on their behalf, I’m sure that, like you and I, they had short memories. They probably received this announcement with skepticism.
How often do we do the same?
Yet, you and I are not created so that we are burdened with worry. Scripture tells us we are to be good stewards of what we are given. God said He will supply all our needs; He has already set aside all you need.
So what does this have to do with having peace? You probably know the answer. The solution is to focus wholeheartedly on God and accept His answers to our problems. Full disclosure: this is very difficult for me. I am a natural problem solver often depending on my skill set and not on God’s sovereignty. That is when peace becomes absent.
Psalm 34:10 has pinpoint accuracy in describing our societal and personal condition; it also provides the remedy to this malady. “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Here are the questions I ask myself when I’m not at peace:
- Did I try my best?
- Do I trust that God cares about this situation?
- What has God designed me for?
- Who delivers, God or me?
If I have answered these questions negatively, I do what is necessary to put my responses into the correct perspective. I might have to do this many times. But eventually, as always, peace invades my being. Remember, God’s got you, no matter where you are!