ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–For Carlos Ferrer, the television coverage of war in Iraq was enough to prompt nightmares of his own childhood in Cuba — hearing the gunfire of revolution, seeing a man die in the street after being tortured by police and hiding under his bed at night in fear.
But in a new devotional book published by the North American Mission Board, Ferrer cites the source of the peace he finally found — and it wasn’t just political or economic.
“God showed me that nothing can conquer fears except His peace,” Ferrer, the mission board’s chief financial officer, notes. “It was only after accepting His salvation that I was able to deal with the anxieties and fears of my past.”
Ferrer is one 40 contributors to “Know Peace in Troubled Times,” scheduled for release April 29.
The immediate impetus for the book was the Iraq crisis and fears of terrorist attacks, said Mary Branson, NAMB’s director of marketing and editor of the book. But the topics cover the gamut of dealing with cancer, persecution, financial struggles, the death of a loved one and brushes with death in wars or terrorist attacks.
Branson said the idea actually originated in late February when she and her colleagues met to see if there was something they could do to help individuals through the difficult times.
“We decided that this didn’t need to be one person’s answer. This needed to be how God helped different people through different kinds of crises,” Branson said.
Contributors include a broad range of nationally known Christian leaders such as Shirley Dobson, Adrian Rogers, Larry Burkett, Charles Colson, Gary Smalley and Rick Warren. But they also include the not-so-famous, who like Ferrer have a story to share of God’s incredible provision.
“We didn’t sit down to say, ‘Let’s represent everybody evenly,’ but when this came together we had people from their 20s to their 80s,” Branson said. “We have African Americans, Iranians and Hispanics — and we have experiences dating all the way from Pearl Harbor to 9/11. We even have something from Barbara Stevens, who was at the airport in the Philippines March 1 when her friend and fellow SBC missionary was killed in a terrorist attack.”
The project was put on a fast track, Branson said, with editorial work completed within two weeks of conception and efforts made to expedite printing.
Despite the range of authors, Branson said she was struck how several themes emerge in the devotional thoughts. It shows how God has helped individuals in troubled times through the ages, and how he can help individuals today. But the book also returns often to the theme of how “God continues to seek those who are His.”
“There are several stories of people who had a commitment at age 10, 12 or 14 — and God kept seeking them,” Branson said. “A pastor who survived Pearl Harbor said, ‘God just keeps this one insignificant person [himself].'”
Each devotional message is accompanied by a relevant passage of Scripture, as well as guidance for prayer and personal reflection.
In the book’s forward, North American Mission Board President Robert E. (Bob) Reccord describes the inevitability of troubled times — and God’s faithfulness to give peace through them. He describes what it’s like sitting on a sheltered porch during a thunderstorm. You can see and hear it, and maybe even get a little wet. But there is protection, and peace, because of the shelter.
“That’s how it is when we abide in Christ,” he writes. “The storms of life were still there, but Jesus shelters us from the worst of the storms. And he walks with us. Always. No matter how big or how small the storm, we never have to experience it alone.”
Know Peace in Troubled Times is available through LifeWay Christian Stores and other bookstores, as well as through NAMB at www.namb.net/catalog or by calling 1-866-407-NAMB. Through June 30, individuals who order by telephone can request a free copy of the book to be sent to a Southern Baptist chaplain for use in their ministry at no additional charge.