Several months ago I presented a series titled, “Walking By Faith Through a Pandemic.” I taught on how to experience God’s peace in the midst of life’s storms. It was very well received and so we adapted it into a short book. This blog is an excerpt from that book, Walking By Faith Through a Pandemic.
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Orthopedic surgeon Paul Brand, lived in London for 25 years, spending a portion of that time living through The Blitz. After the war ended and he finished his internship, he moved to India where he lived for 27 years. It was there he began to treat leprosy patients. Although India was a land of poverty and omnipresent suffering, Brand was amazed how the people bore suffering with dignity and calm acceptance. The kind of acceptance displayed by the people of India is absolutely necessary for us to follow if we’re to respond to the storms of life in a godly way.
Think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane just before he was arrested. He wandered a short distance by Himself and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) This is an appropriate prayer for any of us, recognizing we want God’s will done in our lives regardless of the circumstances.
Hours later after Jesus prayed, Roman soldiers approached to apprehend Him. At that moment, Peter drew a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest. Jesus looked at Peter and asked, “… the cup which my Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)
God the Father had made it clear that He must drink the cup of the cross; it was absolutely necessary. Jesus calmly accepted it, for God’s will must be done.
Probably the best example of acceptance is Mary’s life. She was a young woman engaged to be married to Joseph, a local carpenter who lived there in Nazareth. Before they were married, Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel. He tells her she has found favor with God and “will conceive in her womb and bear a son and you shall name Him Jesus.” She, of course, responds as you would expect, “How can this be, I am a virgin.” (Luke 1:26-34) Gabriel then explains that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be impregnated.
Here she is, soon to be married to Joseph, and told she is to become pregnant, and that Joseph would not be the father. These are brutal circumstances to find yourself in as a young, unmarried woman in this highly strict Jewish culture.
However, Mary’s response to the angel is powerful. She doesn’t argue, nor does she panic. She calmly accepts what she’s been told, responding, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be done to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) Mary humbly accepted this, exhibiting real trust.
When a storm enters your life, consider approaching the Lord with this prayer:
“Lord, I am not sure what you are seeking to accomplish, but I am your servant, let this play out in my life according to Your will.”
This is faith. This is a declaration to God, that “I trust You.”
Forty years ago, I read a book with a story I’ve never forgotten. The book, A Man Called Peter, was a bestselling biography back in the early 1960s, sharing the life of Peter Marshall and written by his wife Catherine. Marshall was a highly regarded pastor in Washington D.C. as well as the chaplain of the United States Senate for many years.
During Peter and Catherine’s marriage, she contracted tuberculosis, eventually becoming an invalid. Praying to God, she believed He would heal her. Many days of prayer passed with no change in her condition. Catherine became angry and discouraged. Yet, after reading a story of the life of a missionary, she realized how poorly she responded to her circumstances.
“I had been demanding of God. I had claimed health as my right. Furthermore, I had never, for one moment, stopped rebelling against tuberculosis or against the invalidism it had induced. I had not faced reality. The right way, then, must be the only way left – that of submission and surrender to the situation as it was. (It was acceptance.)
“Privately, with tears eloquent of the reality of what I was doing, I lay in bed and prayed, ‘Lord, I’ve done everything I’ve known how to do, and it hasn’t been good enough. I’m desperately weary of the struggle of trying to persuade You to give me what I want. I’m beaten, whipped, through. If You want me to be an invalid for the rest of my life, all right. Here I am. Do anything You like with me and my life.’”
When Catherine said this prayer to God, she was at her parents’ home without Peter. She was preparing to go to bed, and as she was dozing off, she thought to herself, “There was no trace of graciousness about the gift of my life and will, nothing victorious, nothing expectant. I had no faith left, as I understood faith. Nevertheless, a strange deep peace settled into my heart.”
At 3 a.m., she was awakened from her sleep, experiencing a real and powerful presence of Jesus. She referred to it as “an intensity of power.”
From that day forward, she began to slowly heal, never with any retrogression. Several months later, the doctor pronounced she was completely healed.
What an exemplary example of surrendering your circumstances and accepting what God has for you.
We experience God’s peace and His power when we accept what He is doing in our lives. It is truly a powerful way to respond to the storms of life because this is an act of faith, and God always responds to faith.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author. Walking by Faith Through a Pandemic can be found on Amazon, our website or, if local, feel free to come by our offices.