|Douglas Frank Photo|
Are things in order for you? Really, I mean an inner sense of order. You might ask what that is and that’s OK. I am talking about peace like a river from the hymn It Is Well with My Soul.You see God wants to bring us the tranquility of order even though all hell is breaking loose. You just can’t get rid of your circumstances and that’s not the point. It is loving obedience to the One who is Peace, perfect peace. “He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast” (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus said in the world we will have trouble, but in Me you will have peace (Matthew 16:33). What is His peace? But I want my peace. I am telling you that you can’t have peace of mind on your own, just like you can’t love your enemies on your own. You might say that you don’t want to love your enemies; you just want peace. So what do you do?
There are a number of smooth stonesthat bring peace: We experience peace of mind when we stand firm in the Lord. It is when we realize that this world is temporary and the real it eternal in heaven. This place is passing away and all things are being made new. We find peace in silence and solitudeas we seek the intimacy of the sacredwhere deep speaks with deep. We can find peace when we seek lightin the darkness, for “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). We find peace when we walk in the will of God. We also have made ourselves very complicated, so we need to seek simplicity. This is a reordering of our world that requires spiritual gifts to pursue as the world works against it. Less of the world is more if we want peace. This is a rigorous solo voyage against the wind as writer pastor Chuck Swindoll has said in his little book, Intimacy with The Almighty. You may have noticed a lot of “s” words, so let’s add slowingour pace to them. The world wants faster and faster, and technology brings it while creating in us surfacedeep communications. Over all these put on or seek silence and solitudeaway from the madness of life. There are 12 smooth stones for which you will need at least two pockets to hold these strong elements of peace. Now this is a long paragraph, so I will add be still to make it a baker’s dozen.
Swindll also said, “’soul surgery transpires as serenityreplaces anxiety.” So this 14thconceptual smooth stone only comes through infusion of the Holy Spirit within us. It comes after surgery that the Spirit does as He counsels with conviction. As He opens the eyes of our hearts He comes in to comfort as He removes our defenses and parading of pride. What we do for show will be torn down. Our self-analysis is required as we allow God to penetrate deeply into our scaffolding as He breaks it up. He is making us new, molding and making us if we will let Him. It hurts, but it is for our good and His glory. Remember flowers grow and rivers of life flow through the valleys of darkness. Self-examination might reveal our emptiness in busyness. Mindlessness and meaninglessness is fake spirituality. Sail away to a lonely place by yourself. Serenity comes as we empty ourselves of having too much of ourselves. Surrender your big plans; God is directing your steps. Or are you saying, “Not me, I give in to no one?” Good luck with that. “Nothing under His control can ever be out of control” (Swindoll). So be quiet and listen in the woods of your heart. “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”- John Muir. Isn’t that a wonderful seeming paradox? “Be still and know” (Psalm 46:10a).
So back to Shalom. Wherever a Shalom Retreat is held is truly holy ground. Heaven and earth meet in this place. The above photo is by my Cousin Douglas Frank of our “Sanctuary.” This is your place of retreat in silence, solitude, serenity, simplicity, and surrender in the sacred. Go there as soon as you can, time is not waiting, but it is pushing you into an abyss perhaps too difficult from to climb out unless God is there.