How can we have peace and clarity when our circumstances are increasingly complex and messy?
Our world of social media and immediate notifications has exposed the anxiousness, conflict and downright messiness. We feel it everywhere.
We see it on an international level. We are experiencing it at a national level. And we have always felt it on a personal level – especially at work. The world is messy and problematic, and it’s been that way since one bad turn in the Garden of Eden.
Our typical response is like Adam: to mistrust God, to make short-sighted decisions based only on what we can see and feel, and to inevitably add to the mess instead of bringing peace and clarity.
So what do we do? How can we have peace and clarity in the chaos?
We look to whom the Bible calls the “second Adam,” in a different Garden, on the eve of the most important event in all of history.
Mark 14:32-65 details the final hours before Jesus’ crucifixion: his prayer in the Garden, arrest and trial. This passage is a fantastic model for how to engage a crazy and messy world.
Jesus’ prayer is complete – a perfect model of submission and trust in God’s plan and goodness. And it prepares him for what is to come.
What follows the Garden scene is a circus. The mob arrest. The competing and false testimony. The rigged overnight trial. Still, in that agonizing and emotionally wrenching process, Jesus has perfect peace and self-control. How?
He has fully given his situation to God, and he is empowered by God’s spirit. He is comfortable in the midst of craziness and confusion to either respond or to not respond, because he is led by the Spirit and characterized with the wisdom, peace and self-control that the Spirit produces. This is the essence of living out our faith!
While we will never endure what Jesus endured, we can apply his method. This could apply to any situation, but especially a really hard situation in which you know you need to endure or really need a specific outcome.
Consider the challenge or mess in your world, and then pray like Jesus:
- Remember that God is your Father — He cares about you
- Be honest about how you feel
- Be specific about what you think you need and want
- Be submissive — affirm your desire that His will be done
And then move forward and trust Him.
Unlike Jesus, we don’t have perfect foreknowledge of what the day will bring – our specific calendars and business ups and downs aren’t written in the scriptures.
But God knows. He cares about the details; they are part of his bigger-picture plan. And He will enable you to face the expected or unexpected events of the day according to His plan.
Because like Jesus, we do have His Spirit. Jesus’ prayer and arrest is much more than a helpful model. Because Jesus endured the ultimate injustice on the cross, we have the power – His power – to face anything with peace, confidence and hope.
God will give you strength in this sort of prayer. You can move forward, empowered by His Spirit, trusting His goodness, and submitting to His will.
And as a result you will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit — peace and self-control, with wisdom to know how to respond whatever the situation.
The world around you might be a circus, but you’ll be steady. You’ll be a light. And you’ll bring peace and clarity into the crazy.