©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Peace, Sweet Peace

A little over ten years ago, I was privileged to sit under Ken Gire's teaching on prayer at a conference in Colorado. The setting was idyllic and the content was life-changing. Three weeks later, I was told there was a mass on my liver and then I played the testing/waiting game. When your doctor tells you that it's okay to cry, you know it is serious. There was a week between finding the mass and the biopsy to tell me what it was. In the middle of that week, I woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep, my eyes banged open and refused to close again. When I find myself trying to sleep and having a hard time getting there, I will do a deep-breathing relaxation technique I taught myself. Even that didn't work. Finally I heard a voice whisper in my head that I would be kept in perfect peace if my mind stayed on the Lord. That phrase ran over and over again through my mind until I drifted back to sleep. When I woke next, rested and refreshed, I got out my Strong's Exhausting Concordance (have you ever carried one around?) and looked up perfect peace, and there it was, right in the middle of Isaiah; in fact, it was in chapter 26, verse three:
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,because he trusts in you.
This is my word and my verse. I am spending this year resting in God's perfect peace, so when the opportunity to read and review Ken's book At Peace in the Storm became available, I jumped at the chance. I have never read anything by Ken that didn't move me in some way, and this book is no different.

Ken has a very conversational style of writing that makes the reader feel they could be discussing his topic over a cup of tea in his living room. His passion about allowing God's peace to change and inhabit us is clear throughout the book. And it's more than a matter of finding peace, it's a matter of looking for peace where God has placed it, and Ken has no lack of examples. One thing that became clear to me that even though this is a very popular understanding of how God works, this particular picture is wrong. Always God calms his child first and then sometimes He will calm the storm.

Toward the end of the book, Ken sums it all up like this:

Today, you may be aching to see God's marvelous miracle in the midst of circumstances you cannot control. . . . And it may be that God's miracle will be witnessed as God changes the outward circumstances you face. The miracle God guarantees, however, is not that He'll calm the storm. It's that He'll calm his child. God's promise is that the peace of Christ, a peace we cannot fathom, descends upon us when everything else is falling apart.

Ken's descriptions of peace in the presence of God through our reading, movies, scripture, nature, solitude, silence, or friends make so much sense. He's writing from his own experiences, but those are not so personal that the reader will not be able to empathize. I understood so clearly what he was trying to say, because I've been there too. I can't wait to give my copy of the book to a friend whose circumstances are stormy at best. I want to share with my friend how to find that peace, too. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a peace beyond all understanding.

Bethany House provided me with this book in exchange for my honest review and it's been my privilege to do so.

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