We know that this world is in trouble, but because of Jesus, He has given us an avenue to peace that shatters understanding.
Peace. It’s something not many of us have had the pleasure of feeling a lot of during this year. If we are being really honest with ourselves, peace isn’t something a lot of us had a firm grasp on even before the hardships of 2020 came calling. When you hear the word peace, you may at first think of it in terms of external elements—people holding hands, smiling, and the soft hum of children’s laughter in the background. While these pictures may be peaceful, the peace I am going to be describing is more internal.
We know that this world is in trouble, but because of Jesus, He has given us an avenue to peace that shatters understanding. While Jesus was describing how the Holy Spirit would help his disciples when He left the Earth to be back with the Father, He gives them these comforting words: “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). I pray that these next few examples of how God makes peace in our souls, although not how we would expect, can give you comfort as the days progress.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Vivek Doshi
1. Through Our Past Mistakes
If you’re like me, you’ve made some mistakes. Whether it’s something only you and God know about, or something everyone on social media is aware of, being human and sinful is a given. I used to think that the mistakes I made in life were roadblocks that derailed God’s plan for my life. Although I know our sin can have serious repercussions, I see more and more how true the verse in Romans is when it comes to how God works, “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” (Romans 8:28).
You see, our mistakes, our sins, are not what God has intended for our lives. Because there is free will, and we are faulty humans, there are going to be moments in life where what we do was not what He intended for us. When we come to Jesus with repentant hearts, and he graces us with His unending forgiveness, we can have the peace that surpasses all understanding. To be freed from guilt and shame and then watch how God uses our past to give us a means to relate to others, and radiate His better plan and way, is a gift. Will you use your past mistakes to help make peace not only with your own soul but with others too?
2. When Dreams Are Delayed
I’m a dreamer. I love thinking about what might be in my future with hope and fascination, but if I’m being really honest, the older I get the harder it is to continue to dream. Cynicism is a nasty mindset that can grab ahold of a pillow-sized dream in your heart and punch it until it’s nothing more than a cotton ball.
Our dreams, I believe, are extensions of our gifts and talents. It’s the positive side of a story. So what do we do with dreams that seem to be skipping on the record player of life? Should we give up on them and become “realistic?” By no means, my friends. Give your dreams to the loving and protective arms of our God. It’s there, where we are about to give up, that God loves to bring us, and our hopes and dreams, into His loving arms, if we will only surrender.
When we give our dreams to God, He will give us peace to move forward throughout the next day...and the day after that. And whether or not a particular dream comes true on this side of heaven, we can have a peace knowing that our God knows what is best for us, for our story, and His glory. May we all, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
3. In Sickness and Strife
I’m so grateful for my health. The current global pandemic we have all been thrown into this year has reminded me of this time and time again. I will always consider sickness and strife to be an unwanted condition and, while I wish that no one would have to endure it, it is unfortunately an impossible situation to avoid. We all have, at one time or other, felt the pain and sadness that is a result of our own sickness and that of our family and friends. How could one find peace in that you might ask?
While it is not something wished upon, many times when we are in a place of sickness and strife we become desperate and in a posture of surrender. Surrender to our physician’s, surrender to the researchers and medical scientists, and when our hearts are in need of solace, surrender to our great Lord and Savior. The peace I have experienced while sitting in a hospital waiting room at 2 am, or praying to hear a loved one’s next breath amidst the silence, or laying under my covers with fever and chills, can only come from my Lord. This peace is not a flighty feeling but deep, strong, and full of conviction.
When you lose your ground and the unknown diagnosis or test results are in the balance, reach out to the Father and He will give you a peace that surpasses any test results. As John states so clearly here in 3 John 1:2, I wish this for you and your loved ones: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
4. When We Face Our Fears
What are you afraid of? That’s a loaded question for many of us. Answers may be in any severity level between heights, spiders, small spaces, or even death. While a certain level of fear keeps us from getting hurt and can be considered “common sense,” the fear I am talking about is a fear that overtakes you and strips you of the power which the Holy Spirit wants to work in your life. Do you let fear of other’s opinion of you, reaction to you, or acceptance of you dictate how you live in agreement to what God has asked you to do? Does your fear of the unknown keep you from taking chances or following the Spirit’s lead in your life?
In Jeremiah 17:7-8, we are reminded how to work through those fears with trust in our Lord’s provision, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” When our roots are grounded in the Lord’s word, in prayer, and in truth, then we will find a peace that surpasses any peace to be found in a human’s attention or acceptance.
5. When Our World Is Crumbling
Over the past 7-8 months we as a human race have seen numerous examples of what a fallen, sinful, and painful place it can be. From the global pandemic, to economic crisis, racial injustice, political strife, and severe and disastrous weather conditions, it’s not hard to find moments of unrest. I don’t claim to know how each person is handling our current state of affairs, or even how deeply the pain affects their everyday lives, but I do know from my own experiences through this year that my only source of peace has been from my Savior’s loving arms.
This verse in 1 Peter 5:6-9 has felt like an anthem for us believers as we navigate through the rough waters of 2020: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
When the world around us is crumbling, Jesus is the only constant. When we realize Jesus is walking along with us through each tear-filled night and anxious new morning, we can receive His peace in our minds and hearts. It won’t mean that our momentary troubles on this earth will disappear. It won’t mean that we should give up on our part in bringing peace and love to our neighbors. It doesn’t mean we should become complacent or apathetic to issues at hand either. What is does mean is that we cannot give up on what He wants to do through us. We are each on this Earth, at this moment in time, for a reason. Let’s fill up our spiritual tanks with His peace and keep walking together throughout the rest of this year with love for one another.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Motoki Tonn
Mandy Smith started her blog, My Joyous Heart, in 2011, began freelance writing in 2013, and is now the proud author of Almost There: A 30 Day Journey Where Tomorrow’s Uncertainty Takes a Back Seat to the Promise of Today. Mandy is single, currently working as a full-time speech-language pathologist, and lives in Atlanta, GA. Communication in its many forms has been a major part of Mandy’s life thus far personally, professionally, and spiritually. You can read more of her writing at www.myjoyousheart.com and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.
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