Have you ever experienced something in life that tried to rob you of your peace? There are minor instances where our peace is suppressed only momentarily, such as when we have a flat tire on the way to work. Sometimes in life, though, we endure hardships that seem too difficult to bear. I know firsthand what the latter feels like. Nearly six years ago, on August 2, 2008, my mom went to be with the Lord. That night, my world was shattered. But even in the midst of the most horrific night of my life, Jesus Christ wrapped His loving arms around me and my dad. Although our human eyes saw what looked like a devastating storm raging in our lives, He showered our hearts and minds with peace beyond our understanding.
All of my life, I have read Philippians chapter four and it still one of my favorite passages of scripture. But it wasn’t until I went through the tragedy of losing my mom that I truly began to understand the meaning of verse 7. Here is the verse in context, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). The Apostle Paul tells us that we should not be anxious. That means we should not worry about anything. Instead, he tells us to pray in every situation.
You might be thinking, how could I possibly not worry and pray when I am upset, stressed, or grieving? I know, it sounds nearly impossible. But I can tell you that a life with constant anxiety is much more difficult than a life with prayer at the center. That night, as we called loved ones to give them the devastating news, Psalm 121:1-2 ran through my mind repeatedly. It says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I looked up at the silhouette of the mountains under the moonlit sky and prayed that God would give us strength in the coming hours, days, months, and years.
You see, even as I stood outside our camper with a broken heart, I knew that Jesus Christ was not only standing beside us, but He was holding our hands, to keep us from falling. He is the Prince of Peace. Although the circumstances were anything but peaceful, Jesus brought peace to our troubled hearts. My dad and I sat beside my mom and sang, “Living by Faith.” Our faith was the only thing that kept us going in that heartbreaking moment. We prayed that God would send the Comforter to us. Through our faith in God, we were showered with the peace that Paul wrote about. We had peace in a situation where it doesn’t even seem to belong, according to our human perspective. This kind of peace is a peace that exceeds all understanding.
One day my parents and I were enjoying a family vacation in the mountains and the next day, my dad and I were going to the local funeral home. My heart had shattered into a million pieces. My dad and I were exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But we still had peace. It wasn’t the peace like one feels while lying in the sun at the beach or listening to the raindrops go pitter patter on a metal roof. This was the kind of Heavenly peace that I cannot understand nor fully explain. Inexplicable peace that comes from Heaven above when the current circumstances seem like peace should not be found. That is the kind of peace Paul writes about and the kind of peace that we experienced that night.
Six years later, I still miss my mom daily. But my dad and I have found a new normal and a new purpose. The same God who gave us peace in the midst of a tumultuous storm six years ago is the same God who gives us peace now, whether we are on the mountain top or in the valley. Life without my mom is not easy, especially on days like her birthday, Mother’s Day, or even this coming Saturday, August 2. But our lives are made glorious by the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ! He is the reason we live, the reason we laugh, the reason we love! I thank Him every day for His countless blessings and His peace that passes all understanding.
I want to encourage you today. Whatever it is you are going through, put your unwavering trust in Jesus Christ. He will never fail you. The peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior is unlike any other you will ever encounter on this earth. With Jesus Christ living in your heart, you will experience a truly abundant life. Through the good times and the bad times, He will guard your heart with peace like no other. He will fill your heart with joy unspeakable! You will be able to face each and every day with the calm assurance that God will give you peace beyond your understanding!
In Christ’s Love,