It seems like these times we are living in are the most difficult of my 70 years. We’ve dealt with national health crisis before but not like this one. COVID-19 has had not only a terrible toll in deaths but also on the economy. People are angry and upset over the dilemma of masks. Tension over racial relations has always been with us but has escalated to an all-time high. People are much less respectful of one another. There is the debate over capitalism versus socialism. Very few trust the news media to deliver the news as opposed to giving us their propaganda. The need for peace in our lives has increased exponentially. How and where do we find it?
One form of peace is a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there's no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom. I can’t remember a time when there was not a war somewhere in the world we were not a part of in some form.
There is also a peace and calmness in your life when you are free from the stress of turmoil in your life. You are seldom totally free from problems in your life. Then what is peace through God? John 14:27 -“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Romans 5:1 - “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This peace through God is not the absence of troubles. I’ve come to believe for the most part it is acceptance of your situation whatever it maybe. It’s not a giving up or caving in to the situation but a form of recognition that God is with you. As I’ve written before, he’s got your back! Praying is an integral part of finding the peace of God. I want to use my family experiences as an example.
My sister, Dianne, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998-99. The doctor recommended a radical mastectomy of both breast resulting in only a 5% chance of the cancer returning. She agreed to the treatment course. Two years later she was at the doctor’s office to see about a sinus infection. It was cancer in her brain, then they found it in her liver and everywhere. The medical recommendation was a series of three bone marrow transplants. They would either cure Dianne or kill her. She called a halt after the second transplant. She just could not take it anymore. We all knew what the prognosis was then. Dianne was at peace with her decision. She knew her destination because she believed in God’s promise.
My parents delivered Dianne’s hospice care in their third bedroom. I don’t remember if the insurance was a problem or just my mother’s desire to take care of her child. They cared for her for several weeks before she was admitted to the hospital for her final days. Dianne had seen both of her sons but kept hanging on, so her nurse told my parents she was waiting for permission to die. Within just a couple of hours of my mother whispering in her ear she was gone. Even though my parents were strong Christians, they struggled to find peace, especially my mother. How does a parent find peace after losing a child? After many prayers and time, they found their peace. There is true peace through God’s love.
If God granted me the blessing of making a few rules for life, in the top five would be that no parent watch their child die followed closely by no parent becoming the hospice care for their child. My parents aged and changed tremendously during this time.
I’m not totally sure that I’ve reached a full peace. After the mastectomies and the doctor’s assurance that “all was well”, I stopped praying about Dianne’s health. What if I had kept praying? Would things have turned out different? If you are on my prayer list for a serious diagnosis or continuing medical problems, you’ll most likely remain in my prayers even if the doctor says, “all is well”. I’ve heard that “all is well” before. Is that a phobia or a lack of faith and trust in God? Is a strong faith and trust in God what peace really is? For me it is!
Our daughter, Meg, works as a consultant for a heath care provider in the delivery of hospice care. She works with the patient and the family. The degree of their acceptance and peace covers the whole spectrum. Some patients are in total denial as well as the family. Some-times the patient is at peace and the family is not. Then there are times the family is at peace and the patient is not. Most of the people at peace have a strong belief in God.
“God’s Love Never Leaves” from Max Lucado’s Daily Devotion:
“George Matheson was a teenager when doctors told him he was going blind. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1861. By the time he finished graduate seminary studies, he was sightless. His fiancée returned his engagement ring with a note: “I cannot see my way clear to go through life bound by the chains of marriage to a blind man.”
“Matheson adapted to his sightless world but never quite recovered from his broken heart. He became a powerful and poetic pastor, led a full and inspiring life, turning to the unending love of God for comfort. And he penned these words: “O love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; and I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer fuller be.” The love of people may come and go, but God’s love? It never leaves.”
Death is not the only challenge that we must face and find peace. Broken marriages, drug addiction, job loss, health difficulties and any turmoil must be faced and dealt with in our lives. If you can’t find your peace in and through God, life will be extremely difficult.
Allen Jackson on peace:
“God knows what we need, even better than we know it ourselves. Is that settled in your heart? Does your life reflect that reality?”
“If Jesus said we don’t have to be afraid, we don’t have to be. If Jesus gives me His peace, that’s good enough for me.”
Allen’s prayer for peace: “Heavenly Father, thank you that in this troubled world You provide peace, security and abundant life through the cross of Jesus Christ. May Your Holy Spirit counsel me daily in Your peace. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I would love for this blog to be interactive. If you have a story or any thoughts on finding peace, please share. We can help one another!
Max Lucado material sheared by permission
Standing Firm by Allen Jackson, Intend Publishing, 2018, Shared by permission