As we approach the end to another year, we often ask if we’re better off than we were a year ago. Has this year summed up to be a winner or loser?
Globally, are we a better world? Are people of all nations better off? Is there more peace on earth?
When we use the word, “peace,” it’s most often in the context of war. But, peace is so much more than just the absence of war. Peace is the addition of something to our lives.
The Hebrew word, “Shalom,” is well known as a greeting of peace. However, Shalom isn’t just quiet or serenity. It’s a deeper sense of wholeness. To be at peace in all areas of life.
In Proverbs, shalom is frequently used to demonstrate reconciliation between people or to heal a broken heart. It’s the creation of unity and cooperation among people.
Take five minutes to read through social media comments and you’ll discover little peace on earth between people. Listen to people complaining in line at the store and you’ll probably not get the sense of a lot of peace among mankind.
Finding peace is not the result of ignoring your doubts, fears or questions. It’s learning what to do with those things and working through them. We can’t discover peace until we get honest about our greatest problems.
We say we want peace. But what we really want is freedom from problems, quiet from the noise in our lives, or to have everything work out in our favor. Those things are different from pursuing peace.
I’d suggest one of the best ways to get to peace in our hearts is by taking the route of Godly lament. A lament is to call out to God in our distress.
Over one third of the 150 Psalms found in the Bible are laments. Not just whining and complaining, but intentional and purposeful calling out to God from a position of stress and worry.
When we enter into a lament, we begin by focusing our prayer to the One who wants to help us. Just complaining to people does little to change our circumstances. Taking my need to God indicates that I know He is the one who cares about my pain.
I’m then in a position to pray my lament to God. To put into words my situation, whether it’s caused by a fallen world, the attack of someone upon me, or even my own sin. God invites me to bear my heart to Him.
A biblical lament often includes a confession of trust. “Yet, Lord, I will trust in You.” It’s admitting before God that you trust He can handle your situation, no matter how bad it looks. This is followed by a petition directly to God. This is when you ask God to take action. Ask God to rescue you from the circumstances.
Finally, most laments conclude with a vow of praise where you praise God out of faith as if He has already taken action on your need.
Crying out to God is not a lack of trust or faith. It’s letting God know that in our weakest moments or darkest night we trust that He cares and wants to do something about our problems.
Walking through the valley is sometimes the quickest route to finding peace on the other side.
By Jeff Denton
Senior Pastor, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship
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