It was 1998 and in my hands was the book “The Peacemaker” by Ken Sande, who was scheduled to speak at an upcoming event my husband Rick and I were organizing. In preparation, I began the book reading a few pages a day at the end of my quiet time. It was resonnating well with me. Glorify God, serve others, grow to be like Christ, the need for peace with God and others; all good. Then came Chapter 3, “Trust the Lord and Do Good.”
The challenge started with this “If you believe that God is watching over you with perfect love and unlimited power, you will be able to serve him faithfully as a peacemaker, even in the most difficult circumstances.” Even today I remember what I was thinking, “Wait a minute, what about the other guy? I wouldn’t have these difficult circumstances if it weren’t for the other person!”
I smile when I think of this, only because I hear this same comment over and over again when people call our ministry for help. Seeking peacemaking for some is a search for a method to squash our opposition or convince them we are right. (That was one of the reasons I was reading the book at the time.) But God calls us to something very different before we go to the other person. He calls us to really think about who we are serving, ourselves or God. Ken puts it this way:
“Trusting God does not mean believing that he will do all that you want, but rather that he will do everything that he knows is good. If you do not trust God, you will inevitably place your trust in yourself or someone else, which ultimately leads to grief. On the other hand, if you believe that God is sovereign and that he will never let anything into your life unless it can be used for good, you will see conflicts not as accidents but assignments.”
Did I want my way, or God’s? Was I willing to accept what he had allowed so that I could give him glory, even in this? At the end of the chapter, my question changed. Instead of “what about the other guy?” I found myself asking “who do I really trust?” My struggle was not nearly so much with the other person but ultimately it had been with believing God had a purpose in allowing the conflict in the first place. Even in the midst of the conflict, God has a purpose for me.
2 Peter 1: 3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Trusting in the Lord, a precursor to doing good.