Peace in the Chasm: Your Experiences vs God’s Promises

Peace in the Chasm: Your Experiences vs God’s Promises

Have you ever read through the Bible and been reminded of God’s promises, yet your experiences do not align with what you read. Perhaps you are reading Philippians 4:19, which says that ‘God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’, but are experiencing lack and poverty right now. Or perhaps God has said he will do something in your life, but your reality is far from the promise, and you do not see a way that it will be fulfilled.

Abraham had a similar promise. In Genesis 17-21, we read about how God promised Abraham that he would have a son and be the father of many nations. Yet, Abraham and his wife Sarah were old, and it seemed impossible for them to have a child. Their reality did not match the promise. When Abraham was 100 years old, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, their son. When God makes a promise, he will always fulfil it – even when it seems impossible!

Being given a promise is exciting, and seeing it fulfilled is incredible, but it is in the waiting that we have difficulty. To have peace in the Chasm is challenging, to trust God and to be patient in the gap. Psalm 4 is a particularly helpful passage for us when we cannot see the fulfilment of God’s promises. A Psalm for the waiting.

Psalm 4:1-8

Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.


There are three aspects of this Psalm that are helpful to focus on; prayer, obedience and presence. Each of these can help us find peace in the chasm between God’s promises and our experiences.



The very start of this passage is directed to God; it is a prayer. In those moments where we struggle to find peace, we need to focus our attention on God. He is the only one who can do the impossible. He cares, He listens, and He will never leave you. Your experiences might not change immediately, but God will comfort you, and He will always be with you.

God will always listen and will respond to our prayers. However, He responds in His timing, and He doesn’t always answer in the ways we want him to. The writer of the Psalm calls out to God to give him relief in his distress. God doesn’t always take the situation away, but He comforts us and is present with us.

Prayer helps us to find peace in the in-between. In Philippians 4:7, Paul describes the peace of God as transcending all understanding and that it guards our hearts and minds. It can be easy in the chasm to feel chaotic and anxious, and in many ways, this is a normal and valid response to our circumstances. However, when we pray to God and ask for His peace, we can find peace in the chasm.



The Psalm goes on to say, ‘tremble and do not sin’. Choosing obedience in the midst of uncertainty can be a difficult choice when the path is not clear. Matthew 16:24 says that all those who follow Jesus must ‘deny themselves and take up their cross’, and John 14:15 reminds us that we are obedient because we love God.

When we do not understand what is happening or how God’s promises will come to pass, trust and obedience are important.

The Greatest Commandment we have been given is to ‘‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”'(Matthew 22:37-40).

Are you able to love God and others in difficult situations? I know that it can be hard when you yourself are struggling to focus on and love God completely and love those around us. Yet, it is the very thing we are commanded to do, and when we obey this command, God’s peace is so tangible.



The final section of the Psalm focuses on the presence of God. It is in His presence that we find peace. The Psalmist writes, ‘let the light of your face shine upon us’. How beautiful a picture for the light of God’s face to be towards us!

When you find yourself in moments or seasons of uncertainty, when you are without clarity of the future, enter into the presence of God. God’s presence gives us perspective and helps us to appreciate that God’s masterplan is bigger than this moment. His plans are bigger even than our own lives, yet he still takes an interest and cares about us. In God’s presence, we find the ultimate peace.



Ultimately, through prayer, obedience, and God’s presence, we find peace in the chasm. When our current reality does not match up with the promises God has given us, we need to trust in His timing. Perhaps you are going through something right now that you cannot see the end of. Perhaps there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel for you. This Psalm encourages me to take courage. To focus my attention on God rather than my circumstances.

That is not to say that it is easy, far from it! Taking your eyes off of the problem and onto God is so difficult at times. Handing over control and resting in God’s peace can go against how we instinctively want to respond. Yet, we will only find peace if we hand it to God.

Today, take some time to pray to God about your situation. I do not know what you are going through, but there may have been a situation in your mind as you read this. Lift it to God, tell Him about it and about how you feel.

Choose obedience, even when you would rather run from it.

Stay in God’s presence, and allow His peace to fill you.



Photo Credits: Photo by Ian Cylkowski on Unsplash

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