featured graphic for Pastor Mike McKay and his wife Kristi of Neighborhood Church during COVID-19

Weekly message from Neighborhood Church: Finding peace in turbulent times

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

My wife, Kristi, and I were out for a walk a while back and came upon a tender scene. A child was being comforted by their parent next to a bike that was on its side. There was no evidence of any major physical trauma with the child, but child was upset and saying their arm hurt. It seemed like this child was a new bike rider from the new bike helmet, along with matching elbow and knee pads. The tender part was how the child nestled in the parent’s arms and an amazing calm came over them. In a very short time this child relaxed and seemed to be at peace. By the time our walk took us out of view the child was smiling, laughing and set back on the parent’s lap in a sense of contentment and joy. This child had found peace in a turbulent time.

As I pondered this sight, I thought how great it would be if we all could find that kind of peace, calm, contentment and joy in our own troubled times. Life does feel like we have taken a bad fall and for some it has been devastating. So many people have gotten sick from this virus. Some have died. People have lost jobs, businesses, and their life savings. The angst and frustration of the social unrest has ramped up hate, violence, and anger. The political climate is just as bad, adding to the fray with unending hate-speech. In all this, with the unabashed bias of the media, it’s tough to know what is truth. It makes one want to find a safe place and find some calm and peace.

The truth is, Jesus Christ can be those arms of comfort and calm. Just as Jesus said in the verse above, Matthew 11:28-30, He can be that place of restful-peace. When it talks of ‘yoke’ it means life His way or like crawling up in His arms and settling back in who He is and His way of life. The Bible in Psalm 34:14b says, “seek peace and pursue it.” True peace is found in our amazing Lord Jesus.

To enjoy this peace, Scripture encourages us to pray. Prayer not only accomplishes a lot (See James 5:16) but as we pray, an amazing calm comes over us.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

There is no secret way to pray or special key words or phrases; prayer is just talking to God. It’s having a conversation with Him, letting God know your thoughts, feelings, hurts, struggles, joys, triumphs, frustrations, questions, and everything you would share with a loving Father that greatly enjoys your company. Imagine Him asking you with a smile on His face and twinkle in His eye, “Tell me all about what you think and feel.” And though He knows what you will say (see Psalm 139:4), He can’t wait for you to say it. Try it, you will feel that sense of calm come.

As well, the Bible encourages us to cast our cares on Him.

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

It is the act of giving our issues to God, to ask for God’s help, and trust He will be working in ways we don’t understand.

This of course takes trust, another challenge from the Bible: to trust God for direction.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Also, a trust in God’s care.

Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalms 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

I’m not sure what turbulent times you face, or even if you are, but I do know that setting back in the will and way of God will help. Why not seek the Lord; for there you will find peace in turbulent times.

Church is a great place to seek the Lord and experience His peace. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to attend Neighborhood Church either in-person, indoors at 9am on Sundays or online. Our webpage has information on how to connect with us or find us on line at neighborhoodchurch.com. As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings or videos visit our YouTube channel, or just search Neighborhood Church Cypress or Neighborhood Church Los Alamitos on the YouTube site.