Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to 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 have waited with many who are waiting to have children. Often this path is not full of peace.
My daughter found the pathway to peace to be a difficult one. As they were thinking about a second child after having the first one through an IVF procedure, she asked, “Am I being selfish in pursuing this a second time? Am I trying to play God?”
God gave her peace when God spoke to her heart that in whatever direction they took, God was still in control, and that her desire to pursue God’s will was enough. They had a second child, a beautiful boy.
After this IVF procedure they froze two embryos, so having a third procedure was not a hard decision for them. They were open to having more children. But, then they miscarried.
My daughter found herself asking, “Why?” Finally, realizing that her question would most likely not be answered, she asked God to give her peace with the two sons He had given to her. She says that “there came a day when God revealed to me that these two were all I needed, and I was okay. Since then, I have realized that I need to simply pursue God more than pursuing anything else, and that is enough.”
Peace, as the world defines it, comes when life is in the order you want it to be — enough money, the right family, the right place to live, on and on, and so peace, when it seems to come, is only fleeting and shallow because life is always changing. The world’s peace does not last.
But as I see it, the “the peace of God that transcends all understanding” can only come from knowing that we are secure in our Father’s hands, that God knows what God is doing with our lives even when we don’t have a clue, and that loving us and transforming us into looking like Jesus IS Jesus’ way. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to humankind on whom His favor rests,” the angels say to the shepherds.
With my daughter, like so many of us who are waiting this Advent, peace is something we learn.
When life is exploding around me, I have to purpose to remember that God loves me and peace will come as I receive. When I am covered up in insecurity and fear, I am to remember that I am God’s treasured possession and that God will not let go of me and peace will come. When I am degrading myself, I need to learn to receive His words over me that I am the “apple of His eye” and peace will come.
One who is learning God’s peace doesn’t have an anaesthetized look, where she is bleary eyed or in denial of the rigor of life, but one who can have a holy boldness to go on (even when she is shaking within), knowing that “our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4: 17, 18 NIV) In essence, peace comes through relationship.
Israel only had peace from staying in relationship with Almighty God. When they strayed from the relationship, war came, captivity came, and darkness invaded their souls. Ironically, Jesus came during the time of “Pax Romana,” a forced military peace imposed by the Roman Empire, but their forced peace only rendered moral decay, confusion, and frantic searching. Jesus came and brought the peace that the world could not give, the peace that comes only through being in a vital and vibrant relationship with Him. When the angel came to Mary and told her she would become pregnant through the Holy Spirit, she said, “How can this be?” When told, “Nothing is impossible with God,” she proclaimed, “I am the LORD’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” God’s peace gave her the strength to be the mother of the Son of God!
Our exhortation is to be like Mary saying, “May it be to me as You have said, LORD?” and as we do, as we obey, as we seek relationship with Him, peace will come.
Let us pray:
I want to stay focused on You, Jesus, not on all of those things that deprive me of the peace that You have to give to me. Jesus, show me again and again that You are enough, and that in You, “SHALOM” will come. Amen.
Beth Dotson resides with her husband Danny of 42 years in Signal Mountain, TN. She is Presbyterian and is presently working in a ministry that serves HIV clients. She loves her family dearly, has five grandchildren, plays in the outdoors in all kinds of capacities with her husband and their black lab, Zeke. Her desire for her advent is that we would wake up to its wonder and how that wonder translates into the miracle of the mundane in our lives.