What I Got When I Prayed for Peace

Renee Bethel

Renee Bethel

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Jun 08, 2022
What I Got When I Prayed for Peace

This kind of peace can’t be explained. It makes no earthly sense that you can feel peace when you are going through a difficult situation and there are hard things all around you. But as a believer, you can be at peace.

It was late summer and my family had already walked through a lot of hard things emotionally and physically during the previous 18 months. My elderly mother-in-law fell and broke her hip, was hospitalized, did rehab but never walked again, and eventually lived in a nursing facility for the remainder of her time on earth. A few weeks after his mother fell and broke her hip, my husband became very ill, his health progressively declined, and we thought he was going to die. He was hospitalized for one week and then spent several more months at home recovering from Lyme disease. When he did return to work, his physical stamina had been so affected that he could not drive himself to work, walk into his office building from the parking lot or work a full day. Short-term disability was a blessing during that time, but it did reduce my husband’s paycheck for several months.

Fall arrived and the church where I worked part-time informed me that my position of thirteen years was being eliminated within six weeks. Shocked by the timing of this unexpected news, I asked for an additional three months since my family had not recovered financially as a result of my husband's extended illness. I was graciously given six months which would extend my job through the end of June. Without going into all of the details of this situation, I was very hurt to learn through a text message that the position was not being eliminated, but someone would be replacing me in my position. Open communication should have been the standard in this situation, and sadly, that was not the case. This type of situation would have been painful whoever the employer was, but there’s a higher expectation when the employer is a church. Emotionally and spiritually, I was deeply wounded and so was my family. 

Time moved on into the following year and as fall arrived, I remember thinking that things were finally starting to get better for me and my family. My husband was doing better physically and was able to work full time. I started another part-time job and we were slowly paying down the medical bills incurred from my husband’s illness. 

I had been praying, “Lord please give my family a season of peace. Help us not have any more unexpected things for a while.”

Then November 5th arrived.

I received a text message early that morning from a friend who had been counseling me about the hurtful church situation. We had not talked in over a month. Her text went something like this: “The Lord brought you to mind recently. I’ve been praying for you.”

I still remember the negative response I had when I received that text. I was aggravated and alarmed, thinking, “Uh-Oh! What does that mean!? I’m adjusting to this new job; we’re starting to climb our way out of this barrel. Things are getting back to normal.”

I did not like the way that message made me feel. Immediately on guard for what it might mean for me and/or my family, I physically shrugged it off.

I now know that God was preparing me early that morning for what I was to experience that evening when I received the phone call that no parent ever wants to receive.

You see, my middle daughter, who was a sophomore in college at the time, was driving back to college (45 minutes away) that evening on the interstate so she could be there for class the next morning.

An 18-wheeler hit her car causing her car to spin off the interstate, go down a ditch, and hit a tree. She could have died right there.

We later learned that she had multiple fractures in her pelvis, her hand was degloved, her hand was fractured, she had a bump on her head, and she had a fractured rib. After three surgeries, and almost a month in the hospital and rehab, she came home right before Thanksgiving.

It would take four years of physical therapy, hand therapy, trauma counseling, and horse therapy before she drove again, became independent, and returned to college. 

When I was praying for peace, this is not what I wanted!

My limited understanding of peace at the time was that things would get back to “normal” and calm down. I just needed everything and everybody to be “okay” so that I could be okay. Then I could have peace.

I didn’t understand why this accident happened, but what grounded me is that I knew God was in control and that He had a purpose and a plan for my daughter’s life, for my life, and for the lives of each member of my family.

You see, God, being the loving Heavenly Father that He is, was in every part of this accident. From the early morning text message, to the Christian couple who stopped after the accident, to the people God brought to meet our needs in the weeks, months, and years ahead. 

God did give me and my family peace.

I had several verses during this time that I kept in front of me to repeat often. One was Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This kind of peace can’t be explained. It makes no earthly sense that you can feel peace when you are going through a difficult situation and there are hard things all around you. But as a believer, you can be at peace.

Having peace does not mean that when you are walking through a difficult season and you have peace the things you are dealing with and walking through are easy! They can be very hard and very painful, but God promises in Psalm 29:11 that He gives strength to his people and He blesses his people with peace. 

Isaiah 26:3 is another verse I kept in front of me. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” A steadfast mind is not just being careful with my thoughts but allowing the motives and desires of my heart to be shaped and formed by God.

I began praying, “Lord, what do you want me to learn from this? Open my eyes to see what you want to teach me and how you want me to grow from this situation.”

God, like He always does, was faithful to put things in front of me to bring understanding about peace during this season of my life. Someone shared a Bible Dictionary definition of peace with me and it opened my eyes to what God was doing in my life.

In the original languages of the Bible, the word "peace" had a far wider and richer meaning than what is commonly associated with the word today.

Peace had to do with:

  • Completeness

  • Wholeness

  • Well-being

Peace was a state of well-being that included:

  • Good health

  • Contentment

  • Harmonious relationships

For the Hebrews in the early church, the greeting of peace or Shalom was not just about inquiring about the person, but it was also a wish for a person’s well-being!

A prayer for God’s peace upon a person or group was a prayer for the wide-range blessing of God! Wow! Talk about big-picture vision!

"God can do more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20)

That’s exactly what God did in my life when I was praying for peace!

Each member of my family was affected by the events that occurred during these difficult years. I don’t want to make light of that. But I can only speak about what God did in my life.

He began a process of:

  • Helping me learn more about Him - His word became so rich and meaningful.

  • Helping me learn more about who He created me to be - He gave me the understanding of why I do certain things.

  • Showing me areas I needed to work on - He would bring to mind things that I had not thought about in years. 

  • Showing me what He wanted me to live out what He was teaching me. 

One of the things God showed me to do as a result of these experiences was to write Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself. The journal reflects my story of emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness after walking through a difficult season. 

There were other traumatic events in the lives of my family after these difficult years. Both of my other daughters had events that could have ended their lives as well. Each time I knew God was right there walking us through the hard times and giving us peace so we could move forward.

As believers, we will all walk through difficult seasons of life. These can be really sweet times where we draw near to God, grow in our relationship with Him, and find peace in His arms.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/ChrisHackett

Renee Bethel, author of  Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a Professional Christian Life Coach and a Certified Gospel Centered Enneagram Coach. She helps Christian Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders do their own inner work so they are equipped for building relationships and impact within the Body of Christ. Join her free Facebook community.