I couldn't find any scripture images for what I'm sharing today so I've chosen this nice peaceful autumn scene of cows grazing in a field. It looks to me like this photo was taken somewhere in West Virginia. I remember driving through West Virginia on one particular occasion ... my first drive through the state in fact ... & seeing hills & fields & fog lifting like this. It indeed gave me a very peaceful feeling.
During my morning Bible time these past couple of weeks I have read many passages describing the difficulties & unfairness experienced by the apostles. I am also currently reading a book written by Beth Moore titled "To Live Is Christ." It is a study of the ministry of Paul & includes various accounts of the injustices he had to suffer. Stoning, beatings, prison, chains, mockery, etc. If you know anything about Paul, you know that he patiently endured these things without complaint. These two lines from one of his letters (Philippians) have always been very meaningful to me.
"...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
"I have learned the secret of being content in any & every situation...."
Paul never complained. He never asked God why he was having to deal with the various situations with which he was presented. No matter what, he chose to be content. No matter what, he chose to praise God. No matter what, he chose peace.
If you've been reading my Sunday posts for the past few months, you know that this year my goal is to have peace. I can't control what's happening around me, but I can control how I view it & how I respond to it.
As I've been reading my Bible & this book about Paul, I have been finding many references to choosing to have peace in your life despite what's happening around or to you. I have been coming across so many of these references that I sort of jokingly wondered if it meant something. Well, this past week I found out that God was apparently preparing me for some attacks on my peace.
This Past Week's Events
1. A buyer of an item I sold on eBay wrote me a nasty email saying the item which I described as being "brand new, never used" had a part that was broken. She accused me of being dishonest in my description & stated that she was going to leave negative feedback & report me to eBay so no one else would ever be fooled by my dishonesty again. There was no reasoning with her. She refused to accept my offer for her to either return the item for a full refund or to allow me to purchase a replacement part for the broken part & have the manufacturer send it directly to her.
2. I had a one-month post surgery appointment with the nurse on Thursday. I described for her a particular symptom that had recently developed. She looked over my medication list & told me that one of my medications ... a medication I have been taking for several years ... was most likely the reason for this symptom. When I told her that I researched this medication thoroughly before starting to take it, & that none of my doctors have ever had a problem with me taking it, she treated me as if I were an idiot & that she knew better than anyone what I should & should not be taking.
3. The landscaper we have used for 3 years came to trim, weed, edge, & mulch our foundation gardens which are around the front of the house, one side of the house, & half way around the back. He & his employee also pulled out a few plants that died over the winter. They spent a total of 8 hours doing this work. They have done this type of work for us before, & to a much more extensive degree, & the most it has ever cost us was $600, so it was quite a shock to be presented with a bill for $1360 ... money we could ill afford to spend at this time. Two truckloads of mulch was billed at $400 with the remaining $960 being billed as "labor." $60/hour per man! John was not happy, to say the least.
4. A lab where one of my doctors sent my blood for testing in March sent me a bill at the beginning of May. There was no indication that insurance had been billed. When I called to ask about this, I was told that there was a computer glitch ... it was sending out bills before insurance payments were received. The rep told me to just ignore it. At the beginning of June, I received another bill. I called & spoke with 2 representatives ... one who told me the same thing the first one did & to just ignore the bill, the second who told me that he did not even see the bill in the system so the insurance payments must have been received thereby closing the account. Yesterday I received another bill, this one with a big PAST DUE stamp across it : (
In my Joyce Meyer devotional, yesterday's & today's entries are both interestingly applicable to my current situation. Joyce began yesterday's entry with these words ...
"It is a learning process to keep the devil from stealing your joy, because he constantly tempts you in new ways to lose your peace."
Today's entry, titled "Triumph Over Troubles," references this scripture from Romans 5 (AMP) ...
"Moreover...let us exult & triumph in our troubles & rejoice in our suffering, knowing that pressure & affliction & hardship produce patient & unswerving endurance."
Well, happy-happy joy-joy : ) I will not let the devil rob me of my peace. I will not sit here worrying & complaining. I will let the eBay chips fall where they may, comfort myself knowing that I will never have to see that particular nurse again, find a new landscaper, &, if necessary, travel to wherever this lab is & take care of this billing issue in person.
Perhaps your stresses this past week are equal to or make mine pale in comparison. Won't you join me in pursuing God's peace?