A Deep Peace

God has this inconvenient tendency to call people out of their comfort into a sort of divine adventure. He did it with Abram. He did it with the first disciples. He did it with Saul. And he did it with me.

I went to Ohio State, assuming I would put in a few years work doing some exciting things in athletic training and would eventually settle into a career in sports medicine, with all the comforts that would come with that salary. I was looking forward to it. During my senior year of high school, I had wrestled with the idea of doing ministry, and even did some ministry that summer with my youth group but God had a different path for me. I got a full scholarship to Ohio State, and had a terrible experience leading my youth group that summer. God had lead me to OSU. Apparently ministry wasn’t for me.

But during my freshman year, God went to work on me. He started to change my idea of what discipleship and the sacred assembly was all about, and with that change, a fire was stoked in my bones for God’s kingdom work that refused to be calm enough and comfortable enough for me to pursue my career plans. There was kingdom work to do at OSU, and I had to be doing it. I didn’t feel right doing anything else.

The summer after my freshman year, while I was sitting in my home church office, I got a call from my OSU campus minister, inviting me to take leadership of the ministry starting the next year in an internship. So I dropped my anatomy classes, picked up some communication classes and opened myself up to God’s call. I had fought it for years, but could fight it no longer. I would pursue ministry.

Over the next year, God confirmed in me a call to minister to his people, and I got to experience the joys and frustrations of that call. The internship was difficult, but it was also one of the most formative experiences of my young life.

As my junior year approached, I was preparing to take over almost all of the leadership of the ministry when I found out that the church leadership had decided to take the ministry in a different direction and that an intern didn’t fit within that plan. It had nothing to do with my service—in fact, they hoped I would stick around, but they didn’t need my help anymore and my internship would be ending at the end of the month….

So I found myself without the job that had come to dominate my life. Questions flooded my mind. Why? What’s the point? Does this mean I shouldn’t be in ministry? Do I stick around? Do I finally go to a Christian university and study bible? Do I change churches or campus ministries?

What now? What do I do now?

In this period of uncertainty, I tried to figure out what I needed to do. Where I needed to go. How I could create for myself a level of certainty. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t have the ability, the talent, or the wisdom to figure it out. In a very real way, I felt like I was being tossed about in the roar of the storm. I had given my life to God. I had heeded his call for me. I had given up the sports medicine that I loved so I could pursue a life of ministry, in his service. But I found myself without direction, without purpose, without a plan, and without any means to figure it out myself. Was God in any of this?

It was in this time of uncertainty that God used sacred music to bring about a deep peace within me. The day I found out my plans were being tossed into in the wind, and everything I had envisioned for my near future was but a whimsical dream, two songs were playing within my soul. These songs, one written in 2008 and the other in 1752, sustained me through this time. I can’t explain why these songs played so persistently in my mind, but I’m grateful for it. They offer a message of hope and peace that is made real in Jesus and what God has accomplished through him. These songs were a word of good news to my soul, and even now, almost a year later, they breath good news into my world of uncertainty and questions.

I Will Rise (2008)

Be Still My Soul (1752)

These songs reminded me that God is on my side. They remind me that God is in control. They remind me that my help is in the name of the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 124 [esv]

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been the LORD who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.

Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!

Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

Ultimately, God is working in Jesus to make all things new. The grave is overcome. The victory has been won, and God will lead us through thorny ways. And because God is faithfully working through Jesus, I can leave to him to order and provide when I can’t do it myself. I can trust him to be faithful through every change. Because he is God.

And more than anything else, we look forward to this eschatological hope: That one day, we will meet together at last. We will rise and fall in worship, and be together with our God.

He is faithful. He is working. He is in control. Now that is a deep, abiding, peace.

—bms

One Response to A Deep Peace
  1. [...] it has for me, at least….I started this blog well over a year ago, but shortly thereafter, my stor... bradschrum.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/life-happens

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