Peace. It’s what we all strive for, isn’t it? We want to have peace about our finances, peace about our job situations, even peace about how many children to have. But, peace has a deeper root that is embedded in a spring of flowing, refreshing water. It wasn’t until recently that I found that hidden spring. You know, the one that changes your life.
My health battle has trudged on for over 7 years now, and boy have I had the 7 year itch! Honestly, I didn’t want to deal with it anymore, and the thought of dumping it alongside the road as I peeled off (in a hot rod, preferably) sounded thrilling to me! It wasn’t until I became obedient that I found it – something I didn’t even know I was seeking. Something I wasn’t sure really existed. Peace.
See, I had finally come to terms with the fact that this was the “new me” – my illnesses weren’t leaving me this side of heaven. I had come to terms with it, yes, but did I have PEACE about it? Did I have peace about everything in my life? Did I have peace about anything in my life?
Life in general is stressful, isnt’ it? Just looking at my calendar gave me such anxiety, then add unexpected days of immobility, guilt of the cancelling of plans and the unchecked boxes on my to-do list (that one really gets me) and you have the mother of all stressed out mommas! It left me yearinging and searching – how can I overcome this stress? All I wanted was peace.
Recently, God keeps showing me this word, peace, over and over. He knows me and knows that I need to be hit up-side the head with Truth sometimes before I tune my ear to His whispers. Peace. Everywhere I looked I saw peace – I saw it but had yet to feel it. I turned to my 11 year old one evening, the one that can see right down to your soul with just a glance, and asked her what she thought peace meant. She cocked her head and thought for a moment, then said, “To not only be ok with what is happening in life, but to be happy about it.” Wow. To be happy about what is happening in our lives? It’s not just enough to accept it, but to really be happy about the storm or trials we are living daily? Oh, that girl has ahold of my heart.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. James 1:2-4
On some pain-filled days, I find myself too weary to even consider being joyful in my trials. It actually makes me kinda cranky to even think about being joyful, when pain clouds my mind and pity takes over. It’s only when I take my eyes off my circumstances and put them on the One who has allowed it, that I start to see what this verse is resounding to my weary heart. So that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. I desperately wanted to be complete – to feel the wholeness of peace in my stressed-out world. My heart cried out for the comfort and stillness it promises. God promises us peace, but it was up to me to be obedient enough to accept it.
See, God was calling me to be obedient to the whispering of the Holy Spirit, who was beckoning me to dig deep into the word, unlike I had ever before. I have to admit, unfortunately, reading my bible wasn’t a daily routine I had allotted time for. Days seemed to fly by and in a split-second, my day was ending with me flopping into bed, exhausted and weary. I wasn’t making time for my Father like I should have – like He deserves. So, I began reading and studying and before I knew it, two hours were going by without even realizing it. God had gotten a hold of my heart and dear one, it’s an amazing feeling! Before I knew it, things weren’t stressing me as much – I had gained perspective on life and what was truly important. I have learned to keep my eyes on Jesus, for there, I find peace that surpasses all understanding. All I had to do was be obedient and listen to the Holy Spirit.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let you hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27.
Once we have peace, however, that doesn’t mean that we can easily keep it. Just recently, our car died and it’s either fix a car with over 200,000 miles on it, or go into debt to get another car. We have a love/hate relationship with Dave Ramsey at our house, and the thought stress of having to borrow money for a car left me stunned. In one fail swoop, or one failed engine, peace fled my heart. That whole day, my mind couldn’t process anything and I couldn’t even bring myself to pray about it – I was too broken over that broken car to even realize what I was doing… I was acting like Peter.
You probably know this story: after Jesus walked on water, Peter wanted to follow and walk out to Him, right over the crashing waves of the lake. (Matthew 14:27-31). So Peter actually did it – he was out there walking on water! Think about that for a second – Peter was getting to do this amazing thing that no one besides Jesus had ever done… until he looked away. In those moments of locked eyes with his Teacher (a man Peter had witnessed perform numerous miracles), he was walking on water like Jesus had. Yet the second he turned his eyes off Jesus and put them on the storm, he sank.
I can imagine the flailing-about that occurred while Peter thought he was sinking – that is the same flailing my heart was feeling over our car. You see, the very second Peter placed his eyes on the circumstance, a seemingly impossible one, he started to sink. Did you catch that? I sure did. See, the second I took my eyes off my Savior and onto our crashing waves, my peace fled and I just knew I was going to sink.
But I am reminded that Jesus didn’t let Peter go under. He pulled him out, just as He has pulled me out of the flailing uncertainty my heart had succumbed to. Matthew 14:31 tells us that Jesus immediately reached out his hand – immediately. I wonder how long it took for Peter to notice that outstretched hand – was he too frantic looking at the waves to see it right away? I sure was. I was too busy looking at the waves that I missed His outstretched offering of peace – peace that came with obedience of digging into the word when a storm came, peace that comes only when I keep that steady gaze on my Jesus.
Do you feel at peace today? By listening to the Holy Spirit’s urgings to dig into the word, I have found that spring of fresh, flowing water of peace in my heart. All it took was the root of obedience and the discipline to fix my gaze on the One who can calm the seas. The words of my sweet daughter echo in my heart and has become my battle cry in this storm – not only will I accept what is going on in my life, I will consider it pure joy, for in this storm my Jesus is proving to be faithful. All I have to do is not look away, for in that fixed gaze, peace flows freely.
P.S. – We are fixing the car – no loans for us!