Many of us look back with longing to a time when we had joy, true intimacy with God, and peace blanketed every facet of our lives. While we know that we go through seasons in our spiritual path, memories of a sweeter time seem to plague us, sometimes discouraging and mocking us. We know God is still there, we can see Him working in and through us. Though, where did our peace go? How did we lose it? Why can not get it back?
While we are not even aware of our peace slowly slips away, usually one choice at a time. One minute defiant action leads to another, then to another, and another. God calls to us, wanting us to spend time with Him instead of watching our favorite TV program. We promise Him we will stop and visit just as soon as it is over. At bedtime, we remember our promise, but we’re too tired to give Him any quality time. We say a quick prayer and promise to slow down for Him tomorrow. Honorable intentions slowly replace obedience and we find ourselves pushing thoughts of God further and further back to relieve feelings of guilt.
“[It’s]…the little foxes that spoil the vines… (Song of Solomon 2:15). One little compromise after another lead to bigger compromises until one day we realize we walked away from God’s will into a life of trying to please God in our own abilities. We brush our Bibles off, promising God and ourselves that we’re going to do better. For a few days, we’re committed to prayer and study, but no matter how hard we work at it we can not get back what we’ve lost. We evaluate every experience against memories of the past, the way it used to be. We begin to question whether we’ll ever find that elusive peace that was once such an prominent part of our lives. Unfortunately, current experience never measures up and thus we fall back into the familiar pattern of compromise and disobedience.
Until we can let go of our experience and know that God wants us to grow through to a new level we will never get what we need. The past was our childhood. When we cried, God was right there. He fed us when we were hungry, cleaned us up when we felt dirty, and held us when we were alone. How silly would we look if we were to crawl into a baby bed and cry for a bottle? Yet spiritually that is 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, knowing that we can trust Him in whatever enters into our lives. Intimacy with God is the result of dying to self and our own desires, wanting only to please Him. When all that matters is to please Him, we are open to new experiences and a new level of relationship; we become a friend of God.