Peace In His Presence
by Sarah Young
How do you find peace in the middle of a hectic Christmas season? As we are often distracted with the worldly trappings of the holiday, we thought it would be helpful to hear insights from Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, about finding Peace in His Presence. Through daily Bible study, reading classic Christian books, spending time alone in nature, but most of all through listening, Sarah has enjoyed the PEACE of being in the Lord’s Presence. Here are a few highlights of her journey:
“At a very unsettled time in my life, I began reading the Secret of the Abiding Presence by Andrew Murray. The theme of this devotional book is that God’s Presence is meant to be the continual experience of Christians. My husband and I were waiting for our Australian visas to be granted so that we could go as missionaries to begin a church among Japanese people living in Melbourne. I had quit my counseling job to prepare for moving to the other side of the world, so I was adjusting to the loss of this fulfilling work. I had also begun home-schooling our two young children. In the midst of these momentous changes, I began seeking God’s Presence in earnest. My days started alone with God, equipped with Bible, devotional book, prayer journal, pen and coffee. As I waited in His Presence, God began to reveal Himself to me. An hour or two alone with Him seemed too brief.
I had been writing in prayer journals for years, but that was one-way communication: I did all the talking. I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, yet increasingly I wanted to hear what He had to say to me personally. I decided to listen to Jesus with pen in hand, asking the Holy Spirit to guide my mind as I listened. I felt awkward the first time I tried this, but I received a message and wrote it down. It was short, biblical and dealt with topics that were current in my life: trust, fear and closeness to God. I responded by writing in my prayer journal. My journaling had changed from monologue to dialogue. This new way of communicating with God became the high point of my day. I knew these writings were not inspired as Scripture is, but they were helping me grow closer to Jesus.
During the years that I have been listening to God with pen in hand, I’ve found themes of His Peace becoming more prominent in my writing. I’m sure this tendency reflects, in part, my personal need. However, when I get to know people, I find that most of them also desire the balm of Jesus’ Peace.
A life-changing verse has been “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is a delightful invitation from God to lay down our cares and seek His Presence. I believe that He yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do.
This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline. The Bible is the only inerrant Word of God, and my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard. I have written Jesus Calling and Jesus Lives from the perspective of Jesus speaking to the reader, and I have included Scripture references after each daily reading.
Remember that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. May He bless you with His Presence and His Peace in ever-increasing measure.