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Irritation or Invitation?

Remember that eye-catching invitation you received? Everything was beautifully designed, from the color scheme and text placement to the selection of a coordinating postage stamp. From the moment you opened the it, you anticipated attending.

Last week, I received an invitation. In fact, I received several.

However, there were no appealing designs, coordinating colors, or beautiful text. In fact, the events began immediately, with no stated end date, and attendance was compulsory. To top it off, it appeared the event held only pain, inconvenience, and loss.

At the time, these “invitations” seemed like irritations. But were they?

My “invitations” were minor—a sore knee, a painful tooth, an irritated artificial hip, an aching wrist. I viewed them as obstacles to my plans. Irritations? Definitely!

But what if they were more than irritations—perhaps actually invitations from God? What if God was drawing me—not to a party—but to Himself? What if the pain I saw ahead was a potential of great peace in God's eyes?

Today I took a few minutes to look at Isaiah 26:3, You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you (ESV). After looking up key word definitions and reading the passage in several translations, I rewrote the verse in my own words: God preserves the one who leans on Him for stability with a peaceful peace, because that person is trusting in Him.

Irritations (rather, invitations) of life are opportunities for the unbeliever to abandon the faulty stability the world offers—wealth, health, accomplishments, appearance—and turn to Christ for a secure stability.

What do these invitations that masqueradeas irritations offer the believer? An opportunity to affirm one’s faith in God for every particle of life in this world as well as in the next. An opportunity to keep one’s heart and focus on God and who He is and His promises. An opportunity for peace.

The next time (probably in the next hour!) that one of life’s “invitations” come your way, try to look beyond the discomfort and inconvenience. See it as an invitation from God, to reaffirm your trust in Him, saturate your mind with scripture, and enjoy God’s peace.

How have irritations/invitations offered you the opportunity to enjoy God’s presence and peace?

(By the way, my photo gift book, Finding Hope: a journey of faith through uncertain times, should be our in print in the next few months. Now I am working on the next book in the Rising Higher Series, Never Alone: gentle reminders of God’s presence and love. I would love to hear your input about how God’s presence has encouraged you.)

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