Home > Encouragement > Bathing Suits, Dismay and Peace…May 8, 2015
It’s that time of year…summertime around the corner, and the need for a bathing suit to replace the one that was lost last summer.  Twenty-two try-ons later, a suit with diagonal ruffles and some small polka dots fit all the requirements and went through the check-out aisle quickly. After getting home, while sharing the joyous news that I actually found a bathing suit, my mother’s response after seeing it was that the bathing suit was so attractive, she would feel comfortable wearing it.
The rest of the evening was a pause for personal reflection and soul-searching…did I really want to go out in public sporting a bathing suit my 81-year-old-mother would feel comfortable wearing?

I think Jesus was chuckling when He kindly pointed out to me that, from her perspective, she had shared a high compliment because she was one who judged and assessed the world by the standard of herself….her taste, her opinion, her sense of what was appropriate or inappropriate, right or wrong, etc.

And He used our conversation to point out some things worth sharing.  Defaulting to our own standards, not His, often hinders the manner in which we are able to love one another, bear one another’s burdens, respond to events when they are splashed across the news, or react to situations and incidents that appear negative.  Using our standard as the basis for expectation or faith will certainly affect how we seek His Presence and intervention in prayer, and it often leads us into a mindset of dismay….rather than instilling hope, optimism, faith, or to dwell in peace.

 “Dismay” is not a word commonly verbalized in everyday conversation.  It’s used 43 times throughout Scripture (NASB translation).  In scanning multiple Bible translations, however, (NIV, NKJV, The Message, Holman Christian Standard, Lexham English Bible) there is no New Testament use of “dismay.”  The 1599 Geneva Bible translates Paul using the word twice in 2 Corinthians, and the New American Standard translates Jesus using the word in Luke 21:25 when He prophesied, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear…” (italics added)

“Dismay,” then, is pretty much an Old Testament description of how people responded, reacted to a situation.  And I find that interesting.  Also of interest is that the concept is often partnered with two unsavory co-habitants:  ten times “dismay” is used in conjunction with “fear” and five times in conjunction with “shame.”  That’s about 40% of the time, which is significant when partnered with both a definition and resultant impact.

Dictionary.com defines “dismay” as “to break down the courage of, completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt.”
Merriam-Webster online adds, “to cause to lose courage or resolution (as because of alarm or fear).”

“In this world you have tribulation…”   (John 16:33, NASB) Jesus precedes that statement with, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.”  (italics added)  Jesus also made a specific promise about “peace”  when He stated, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  (John14:27, NASB)

I ran across a 2014 article by worship pastor and musician John Belt, as he discussed “Peace like a River.”  In it, Belt writes, “There are some things that are false values that people incorporate into their lives that produce anxiousness, robbing them of the peace that Jesus gives.  When we allow these lies to penetrate our minds we forfeit that tranquil river of rest.  To value something that should not be valued, exist or be important to one’s life, creates a vacuum and empty space that cannot be fulfilled… False values are merely a mirage and fantasy that throw one off balance. If you were to say, ‘oh I have to be like this person or to really be successful or I must have this or look like this,’ then you have created a false standard that should not exist at all.  There is no chance that this can be fulfilled, nor should it be.  It is simply a vain imagination that needs discarded.”*

False values.  Vain imaginations.  Self-set standards.  They all share a similar focus…that is, being focused on the “things on earth,” not on  “things above” where we – in Christ – are seated.   (Col. 3:1, NASB)  And this earthward – not heavenward – preoccupation subjects us to a variety of maladies we were not meant to carry, nor meant to have flow from us as a substitute for “living water.”

I’m particularly fond of The Message translation of Romans 8:9-17:  “But if God Himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of Him…God’s Spirit beckons.  There are things to do and places to go!  This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.  It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, papa?’  God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.  We know who He is, and we know who we are:  Father and children.  And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance!”

“…thinking more of yourself than of Him.”  That strikes me as anouch…or at the very least, a serious hmmm…and yet it is a mindset that seems to be at the very core of false values, vain imaginations, self-set standards.  There is no inheritance in that….just as there is little peace.

John Belt ended his article by writing, “When we ask the Lord to rule our hearts, for His Kingdom and will to be done in our lives, the very first manifestation of His Kingdom is the peace of the King…Hit the refresh button today, allowing God to give you a renewal of your heart in His peace.”*Selah!*http://overflowglobal.com/discovering-peace-like-a-river/