Finding Peace

During Life's Struggles We Need To Remember To Find Our Peace In God

Paul Johnson
Dec 4, 2022    8m
Have you found yourself struggling and trying to get through things on your own? In this real-life story about marriage and divorce we are reminded that we need to find our peace in God rather than in ourselves. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

121 Community - 121 Stories - Finding Peace
Paul Johnson: [00:00:01] I was definitely entering in to one of the hardest phases of my life. My name's Paul Johnson, and we've been going to 121 for just over three years now. I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, had two loving parents and went to a Christian high school, and just had the perfect scenario for walking with the Lord and doing what's right. And I had a knowledge of the Word of God, I had a salvation that I believe was genuine and authentic, and I had parents who poured into me spiritually and such. But it was really probably like 16, 17 years old, around 10th, 11th grade, where I just felt God just really pull me towards him, and a love for his word, and a desire to pray, and really just a desire to preach and started preaching in our church and started sharing devotionals whenever I could.

Paul Johnson: [00:01:08] And I guess you could just say I just jumped all in, and went to college and met my wife, and we were going to ride off into ministry. She had grown up in a Christian home as well, and her father was in ministry. And I mean, we just had the whole thing mapped out. If I boiled it down, I would say it like this, I wanted to do something big for God. The environment that I was in was really conducive for a lot of just performance-oriented Christianity. I didn't know it at the time, but I had kind of started to fall into that.

Paul Johnson: [00:01:40] And I do remember, specifically, it was like a conscious choice that we're going to just try to get a big home and take trips and get our kids into good schools. And we just figured maybe it was a consolation or whatever it was, but that's what we decided to do and had no idea the dark days that were ahead and the fear.

Paul Johnson: [00:02:16] The marriage ended, and ended in a lot of pain, a lot of anger and mistrust, betrayal, a lot of hurt, and rejection. I've never been fired from a job, but during that period of time, I was working for a nonprofit, doing some part-time work, and they basically are like, hey, look, you know, you can quit or we're going to fire you. And I mean, that I think that was, I mean, who gets fired from a nonprofit?

Paul Johnson: [00:02:51] And we started going to a little bit of counseling and started working on that, and I remember telling my counselor, I said, you know, hey, give this thing a few weeks here and maybe a month and things are going to be good. And she was a godly, wise older lady, and she said, Paul, this might be five plus years. Of course, I just thought that was crazy.

Paul Johnson: [00:03:17] For me, the hard thing when I look back on it is that I was so consumed with trying to earn her affection and her love back that I wasn't, I don't think at times a very present loving father to them. I ran five marathons out of anger during that phase and I got up in the morning and I would just run and run and just try to talk to God. And honestly, just kind of being angry, angry at the situation, angry and bitter at the reality that maybe some dreams that I had, if I'm really honest, were not there anymore. And that, well, just darkness, uncertainty, and unloved.

Paul Johnson: [00:04:10] And I remember one specific time early on, I was working in this one house, and I was getting ready to do some painting, and I had never heard the audible voice of God, but this was the closest I think I've ever gotten. And I was just sitting down there in the pantry cleaning the grease and grime off of the baseboards so I could paint them, and I just sat there, and I just started weeping. And I was just completely lost, in the sense of who am I, my identity? And, you know, just everything that I had dreamed of being, I wasn't that. This marriage that was supposed to be everything was not, and it was falling apart.

Paul Johnson: [00:05:09] Through these 10, 15, 20 years of just wilderness. God had just gently and kindly said, hey, your satisfaction, your acceptance, your love is not found in a spouse, it's not found in your home, it's not found in your career, it's found in me. I just needed to realize, like, God is enough. I always say when I tell this part of the story, that no matter what the outcome is, that God is still good, and God is still God and he's still loving. And it was at that point, where I realized that I was loved by God, not because of what I was doing, but because of who I was and because of who he is and his love for me.

Paul Johnson: [00:06:03] But God sent Kelly Jo, my wife now. We met and we started texting, and we started realizing just this is not a coincidence. So about two weeks in, we had our first date and we both knew from that moment on this was it. In February, Kelly and I will be married for five years. And I can say that for me, God just sent an amazing, wonderful, just loving, caring, nurturing spouse, and we believe in marriage, we believe it's God's picture of his love. And so God just began to show me his love for me through the body of Christ, through lots of coffees with friends, through his word.

Paul Johnson: [00:06:51] We, Kelly, and I, got into 121 and started our life group, and God's love is pouring to us through there as well. And just her picture of his love to me, it's just been so healing and so wonderful and like a fresh, well, spring of water after a long, dry desert. God uses a lot of ways, and a lot of things, and a lot of people to show you his love, and so I'm grateful for that.

Paul Johnson: [00:07:22] And I remember a lot of those nights of darkness and fear and anger and bitterness, and I'm amazed that God would, I'm just amazed that God would still be faithful and love me through that. So my story is that God showed me that his faithfulness and his love are not determined by my performance, and they're not based on my righteousness, or my good living, God's love for me is based off of him and what he did through his son, Jesus Christ.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051