During difficult times we all crave a sense of peace. Many tell us about God’s peace, but we hear little about His provision of personal peace and tranquility during tumultuous times.
In junior high school I attended cotillion. Not cotillion classes, or cotillion practice. Just cotillion. It ranks right up there with “church” and “school” in adolescent one word descriptions. We all knew what it meant: learning to be social. This was endured by the attendees, who thought the learning and practice of social graces was foisted on them by parents who didn’t understand that OUR generation would never need THEIR generation’s experiences or common wisdom, and that flashing a peace sign and uttering “Hang Loose!” would permanently supplant a handshake and a “Hello.” Cotillion fell into the category of piano practice, eating vegetables, and doing dishes: something required but maybe not necessary.
Respecting and Valuing People
The significance of this learning was never clarified. It was always shrouded in a vague sense of helping others be comfortable, and of gaining the confidence that you were being socially appropriate. But what it taught me! More than saying “Please” and “Thank you” or shaking a hand with a smile and eye contact. More than offering a seat or waiting for the rest of your party or table before eating. More than holding your tongue if your comment was ungracious, or overlooking another’s social gaffe or awkwardness.
It was learning to respect others. It was realizing that at the other end of the handshake was another person, an individual coming from their own place in life, with their own history, hopes, and worries. It was learning to share peace-in a moment, and with just a look and a gesture. To say non-verbally, “I see you. I recognize that you are human. I value this interaction because you have value.”
A personal relationship with God
This was how God interacted with Moses in Exodus 3. We see God extending to Moses a unique and individualized personal peace and tranquility during a time of tumult. You know the story: Moses, sheep, desert, burning bush. God didn’t approach Moses here with a terrifying windstorm or pillar of fire. He offered at first curiosity, something out of the ordinary that piqued Moses’ interest. Oddly, Moses didn’t seem curious about the spontaneous combustion of the bush, but by the lack of consumption of the bush. Only when Moses approached, God called. Softly. Humanly. There are many instances of God making His presence known loudly and from far away. A few months later The Hebrew people were terrified of God’s awful and majestic presentation in the very spot that Moses then stood. But at that moment, to that individual, God beckoned quietly, on a personal level.
There is a tenderness here, an accommodation for Moses’ humanness and state of mind. God was clearly concerned about Moses. God met Moses where Moses was, in the desert with the sheep. He figuratively “shook Moses’ hand” at the burning bush. He introduced himself, and gave Moses His name, His “personal contact info.” He also gave Moses references-Himself! God was saying without saying, “I see you. I recognize that you are human. I value you.”
This story is full of fascinating detail—a miracle, the appearance of God Himself, a charge to Moses, a life-changing event. Yet when Moses went home that evening and talked to his wife about his day, I think the story came out something like this:
Zipporah (that was Moses’ wife’s name, honest), the most incredible thing happened today! There was this bush, and God was in it, but he wasn’t all sovereignly or scary. And He CALLED MY NAME, He really called MY name. God knows MY name. He talked to ME, personally. He was just there and I was there. We had a conversation, but I didn’t talk so much, but He talked to ME. And he told me a bunch of stuff, and gave me a job to do, and he told me HIS name, and … Zipporah, God knows who I am! He spent time with ME, just ME!
Moses was living at the time in a quiet little corner of the desert, far from the turmoil of Egypt. Yet this personal and unique interaction, this gift of relationship, both offered Moses peace, and steeled him for what God had called him for. It gave him hope and a perspective. No longer was he the fugitive who had messed up his life. He was now blessed by God through a personal relationship, and given the task of bringing the Hebrews not only out of their slavery, but of introducing them to this God, HIS God and their God.
God provides a sense of personal peace
God operates in the corporate—through nations, and governments and churches. But he relates to individuals, to ordinary and unique people. He knows us each, and he approaches us as individuals, uniquely. He offers Himself, and He provides a sense of personal peace that survives the tumult in our lives.
Where do you hear the beckoning of God’s voice?
Where do you find His personal peace for you that fits the affairs and cares of your life?
Resources to Overcome Worry and Anxiety
- Free Download: How To Fight Fearful/Anxious Thoughts and Win
- Breaking Anxiety’s Grip Free Study Guide
- Free 7-Day YouVersion Bible Reading Plan for Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
- Your Rx: 40 Scriptures that Combat Worry, Fear, Anxiety and Panic
- Series of 8 Podcasts on Defeating Anxiety in Times of Crisis like the Coronavirus. Visit our Podcast page and start at Episode 50.
More on the award-winning book, Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
No question, we have a lot to worry about. Children, jobs, homes, health, finances, and more. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety – as if we could. Instead, we need to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence and that we can fight back using the God-given weapons of power, love, and a sound mind.
We can discover true peace in an age of anxiety.
In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares her own story of emerging from the battle with anxiety as well as the stories of others. She reminds you of your identity as a follower of Christ and of the peace he promises you in spite of everything.
She provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Books-A-Million, and other fine book retailers.
Click here to learn more: Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
Great message Scott! Thank you! Thinking back to my encounter with the Lord as an 11 year old girl at Sunday night junior choir singing songs about Jesus when suddenly I knew that I did not know the Jesus I was singing about. I remember saying something to the pastor, being in his office, kneeling by a chair and praying to receive Jesus. The Lord called me, uniquely and very personal to be His child. So now 62 years later, I have quite a history with Him. Yes, He does know my name. I am precious to Him. So appreciate you sharing this message! God bless you and Michelle and your ministry together.
Karen, isn’t that a comfort that He knows your name and that that you are His child forever and always?
To think God knows me my name amazes me! Enjoyed your post.
I completely agree with you. Faith gives us a sense of confidence and calm. It really can work for people with anxiety. When I had problems with anxiety, faith helped me with this ailment. Nevertheless, in such unpretentious times, anxiety can overtake everyone, but we can cope with this thanks to many factors. For some, it may be God, for others, other methods. Good luck!