Saturday, March 28, 2015

Walking Into Holy Week Looking for Peace? It's Here.

There are some days when I run from it, some days I try to ignore it, and some days I just have to say it.

I hate the devil.

There. I said it. Let the attacks begin.

You see, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I believe that there is also an opposition to him. In fact, His greatest opposition is Satan. Present tense. Because Jesus lives, Satan also lives. The Bible tells us that one day Jesus will return and Satan will be locked away forever (soon, please!), but until that day, we have to live in a fallen, fallen world in which Satan wields great power.

(Gosh, I didn’t mean to get so deep so fast here! Bear with me.)

I’ve been reading the gospels through Lent with Margaret Feinberg’s 40 Day Lent Challenge, and I’ve been struck by, well, lots of things. This week, especially, God has used His word to speak directly into some things in my life.


It’s been a hard week; I won’t deny it. As much as I’ve valued privacy, and still do, I just have to share a little bit of what’s been going on. I’ve been crushed by disappointment this week as a student I’ve mentored for the past two and a half years has just walked away. From school. From her life here. From relationships. From everything.

My head is still spinning.

And I can’t help but worry about the steps she is taking.

And I wonder what more I could have done to help her.


Back to the 40 Day Lent Challenge. (I know, I’m all over the place today. Sorry.) This morning I read John 10 and was especially struck, once again, by Jesus’s “I am” statements in verses 6-18.

“I am the gate for the sheep.”

“I am the gate.”

“I am the good shepherd.” (He says this twice, so he really must want us to pay attention to it.)

And then I read these words in John 10:10 – “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” – and I was reminded yet again of my student. What she cannot see right now is that what she thinks will bring pleasure to her life is really sucking her dry. That the people she thinks she wants in her life will destroy her. Because the enemy of our souls will do whatever he can and use whatever tricks it takes to make us think that a rich and satisfying life involves doing whatever we want without any answer to authority in our lives.

Jesus tells us the opposite.

Follow me, He says. Submit to MY authority. Seek MY kingdom and there you will find what is truly rich and satisfying in life.

Oh, sometimes it’s so hard to see, even in my own life. I want my own way. I want to control things. I want to be in charge of everything. I am a petulant child, stomping her foot to get people to listen to her. But when I try so hard to make my own way, things inevitably fall apart.

When I submit to Jesus, when I give up trying to do things my way, I find the deep, satisfying peace I’m looking for.


I read a helpful note in my Bible this morning.

“The world still lives in darkness and it cannot understand the realities of life or of God. Divine revelation is inaccessible to the world. In fact, when the light of God penetrates the darkness, exposing the ugliness of the world’s life, many people flee deeper into the darkness because they prefer it to the light. Only the transforming power of God’s Spirit can provide understanding and help people see clearly as children of God.”


So why do I hate the devil? Because he is a thief. He steals joy. He steals peace. He steals love. He steals understanding. He causes division and strife and makes us see the differences between people when we should be looking for anything, anything that will bind us together in this crazy fallen world.

The good news--the really. good. news.--is that Jesus came so that we wouldn’t have to fight against the darkness anymore. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

So this week is Holy Week. Lent will be over and on Easter Sunday we will celebrate the Light of the World who has come so that we can have peace and rest and a rich and satisfying life. I choose to rest there, in that peace that surpasses all understanding.

Because this week? This week I don’t understand much, but I do understand where my satisfaction lies.


Friends, forgive me if this post is hard for you to read. I just sat down and wrote what was on my heart this morning, and I’m putting it out there without much editing because I think it’s what God wants me to do today.

This Easter week, I pray that you will know the peace that Jesus came to bring to each one of us.


  1. Hi Shelly,

    Heartfelt thanks for your wonderful post! You did well to just write these words down - it's SO much what I need this very moment. I have a similar experience these days, seeing how I try to make my own "thing", not trusting God enough, but at the bottom of my soul knowing that if I follow Jesus, listen to his voice, obey his ways, I'll have peace. I just started a little holiday until Easter, and I'll keep your post in mind to encourage me while I try to figure out my priorities, seek God and hope that he'll fill my heart with his healing love. Be blessed!

    1. Many, many thanks for this, Claudia. Bless you as well.

  2. So sorry. I know you invested much purely because Jesus called you.

  3. I appreciate your "hard words." Frankly, I believe we need more people willing to share the "hard words." We live in a fallen world and the devil is alive and well and sadly, thriving. And in large part due to the fact that Christians want to focus on all the good and easy parts of the Bible, instead of the Truth. The Truth is being a Christian is not easy. We face the same heartaches as non-believers. But we have Peace when we keep our eyes on Jesus. Thank you for that beautiful reminder that, while in the world we will have trouble, praise God that HE has overcome the world!!! Thank you Jesus!!! I have been praying for you!

  4. Oh, Shelly, I'm so hard to hear that the student you've been mentoring walked away. Loving people is SUCH a HARD call on our human-ness, on our tender hearts.

    I don't know if it's any consolation, but I was reminded yesterday of something my mom told me the whole time I was growing up. As Mark and I watched a friend get baptized, a friend we've invested in, a friend who chose his new, cooler small group leader/friend to baptize him, it was tempting to feel a little bitter. Like - why did we even bother loving this friend when he would leave us for cooler friends as soon as he could (and then give them credit for his faith journey)?! I KNOW. That is TERRIBLE. I am TERRIBLE. But as soon as those thoughts crossed my mind, I remembered how my mom always reminded me that our job isn't to save anyone. Our job is to plant seeds, to obey God, to love people. SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH.

    Anyway, I really didn't mean to make this about my story. I just thought of it as I read your post and wanted to encourage you that you planted seeds, Shelly. I have no doubt that you loved your student well. God knows and He's with her no matter what choices she makes.

  5. Bless you, bless you, bless you, friend! Dear God, living in this fallen world is so hard sometimes. I am thankful to have people like you to walk alongside me, even from afar.

    This is a beautiful, poignant post. Thank you for writing it.