I should be in the hospital today delivering my 4th child and 2nd boy, Andrew James Chase. Instead I am thinking back over the past 10 months of my life, without a baby in my arms, and wondering how I am still standing.
Peace is something we all desire. It’s defined as a state of tranquility or quiet; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. It’s the opposite of worry, distress, frustration, and trouble. It’s easy to find peace in the good times of life but much harder during our trials and tribulations.
Thinking back 9 months ago, as I drove an hour to work every day contemplating the future my child and our family would have, I prayed and asked God to help me see His way. I talked into my phone recording every word the doctor said, the disappointment I felt with the prognosis of our baby boy, and the uncertainty that I would be able to handle this.
I read through my recordings and wrote titles to accurately describe this journey. Peace in the Waiting began to resonate with me throughout my pregnancy. I thought back to something Tim Hale, our worship pastor at FBC Midlothian, said several months ago. He talked about the world being chaotic and people’s lives being in upheaval. All we have to do is look around to see the truth in his statement. He encouraged the congregation that in the midst of chaos, we have an opportunity to be different and to shine for Jesus by being at peace … not the “find your happy place” peace of the world. True peace doesn’t come from a trip to the beach or the mountains or a golf course. Those things give a much needed escape from every day life, but they can’t give us what the peace of God gives.
Worldly peace is temporary and fragile.
God’s peace is enduring and strong.
Worldly peace tells us to do what makes us feel good in the moment.
God’s peace tells us there is so much more in store for us if we die to ourselves and follow him.
Worldly peace is available to anyone who has a credit card with a limit high enough to suit our fancy.
God’s peace was paid for on a cross with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself and His resurrection three days later.
There is no peace this world can provide to sustain us.
Experiencing God’s Peace
What do we have to do to experience God’s peace through the good and bad times of this life?
1. Ask For It.
Seek God in His word and through prayer, asking Him to help you. I love James 1 because the first few verses encourage us to consider it joy when we face trials, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance. And then verses 5-7 talk about the wisdom that God gives when we ask for it but that we must believe and not doubt.
2. Give Up Control.
I’m at fault for thinking I’ve got everything under control. I fool myself into believing I have the ability to plan out my whole life with the “rulebook” I’ve created. But, the truth is that God is the one in control and you can’t bargain with him to get your way. My favorite verse is Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” While we may not like it when God’s plans don’t align with ours, there is purpose and good behind all God does and allows.
3. Keep Your Eyes Focused on Eternity.
We can’t wrap our human brains around the greatness of eternity, because we think in mere years. We are lucky these days to live 70 or 80 years, but our lives on earth are a tiny speck compared to eternity. In 2 Peter 3:8 it says that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” Our focus on this earth should not be to please those around us but to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, to shine bright for Jesus through our example, to make disciples of all nations, to love one another regardless of the circumstance, and to always remember that “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Living Out God’s Peace
What does God’s peace look like in the lives of those who love him?
A man loses his job and fears not being able to provide for his family…
God’s peace allows him to get up every day and through blood, sweat, and tears work hard to make a way. He doesn’t give up hope that God has something in store for him. He keeps his eye on the Lord.
A woman faces the end of her life on earth after a long battle with cancer…
God’s peace gives her the strength to spend every single opportunity she can showing her family love and being an example of a faithful servant to all of those around her. Her life touches people she doesn’t even know, because it’s easy to see that there is something different about her. She continues to live the life that God has given her to the fullest until He is ready to call her home.
A couple tries and tries and tries for a baby they have longed for so desperately…
God’s peace enables them to remain happy and thankful for the all of the couples around them who are pregnant. They open their hearts and minds to the possibility that there is an orphan child out there who may need their love. But they trust God will provide a path forward.
A college student graduates after years of dedication but can’t find the perfect job…
God’s peace shows him that his less than perfect opportunities are an open door from Him. He sees God’s opportunities as stepping stones to what he is intended to be and do if he works as if he is working for the Lord.
A child struggles for life while a mother stands by in desperation for healing…
God’s peace provides her with the strength to commit the life of that child to a God much bigger than herself. With tears streaming down her face she is able to say “it is well with my soul, and I trust you, Lord.” And then she lets go.
Peace is not synonymous with happiness. Experiencing God’s peace doesn’t mean that grief isn’t allowed in these difficult situations. In fact in Psalm 56:8 it says that “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Jesus wept and grieved during his life on this earth. God knows we will grieve. He heals the brokenhearted and comforts us in all our affliction (Psalm147:3, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
The chaos and calamity all around us is overwhelming because we live in a fallen, sinful world … but in the midst of it all, the peace of God grounds us in strength and hope, allows us to be thankful, and helps us to see the many blessings He has given us. With God’s peace we are able to put our trials and tribulations into perspective and see them in light of eternity. Yes, the weight of this world is heavy, but Jesus says in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”