Many of us can look back with longing at a time when we had intimacy with God and peace blanketed every facet of our lives. While we go through seasons in our spiritual path, memories of a sweeter time seem to haunt us. Sometimes they intimidate and mock us. We know God is still there. He is still working in and through us, but we wonder where our peace went. How did we lose it? How can we get it back?
Normally, we do not even notice our peace slipping away. The loss is gradual, usually one choice at a time. One small action leads to another, then to another, and another. Until we look toward God and realize how long it has been since we have even talked to him.
With unspoken sorrow we remember the road we traveled to get here. God called to us, wanting us to spend time with him instead of watching our favorite TV program. We promise him we would stop and visit just as soon as it was over. At bedtime, we remembered our promise, but we were too tired to give him any quality time. We said a quick prayer and promised to slow down for him the next day. Gradually our noble intentions replaced obedience and we found ourselves pushing thoughts of God further and further back to assuage our guilt.
“[It’s]…the little foxes that spoil the vines… (Song of Solomon 2:15). One little compromise after another leads us to bigger compromises. We do this until one day we realize we are walking away from God’s grace into a life of trying to please God our own way. We brush our Bibles off, promising ourselves that we are going to do better. For a few days, we pledge to pray and study his word, but no matter how hard we work at it, we cannot get back what we lost.
We evaluate every event against past experience. Memories of the way things used to be mock us. We begin to question whether we will ever get that elusive peace that was once such a prominent part of our lives. Unfortunately, current experiences never measures up, therefore, we slip back into the familiar pattern of compromise and disobedience.
Until we can let go of the experience we once had with God and realize that he wants us to go through to a new level with him, we will never get that for which we long. Those experiences were our childhood. When we cried, God was right there. He fed us when we were hungry; he cleaned us when we were dirty; and he held us when we were alone. How silly would we look if we were to crawl into a crib and cry for a bottle? Yet, spiritually that is exactly what we do. We must let go of the desire to go back, so that we can move forward.
Peace is the result of intimacy with God. It is the confidence that we can trust Him in whatever comes into our lives. Intimacy with God is the result of dying to self and our own desires and wanting only to please Him. When all we want is to please God, we are open to new experiences and a new level of relationship. Then we are not babies; we have become a friend of God.
Dr. Schuetz is an ordained minister and has been in ministry with her husband for twenty-five years. She has a PhD in clinical Christian counseling. She and her husband, Michael, of 33 years have 2 sons, 1 daughter, 9 grandchildren.