One of the definitions for peace is “a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.” Another is “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.” (dictionary.com) Based on these definitions, it would seem that it’s not possible for us to have peace while we’re on this planet.
We’re constantly disturbed by so many things and while our country may not be at war with other countries, we constantly fight against the evil in this world. In recovery, we fight battles against our addictions and our desires. As humans, we constantly fight against what is good for us. We struggle in doing what we should do against what we want to do.
In this world, it seems that like everything else, we can only have imperfect peace. We can feel a version of peace that is incomplete and temporary. We can have peaceful moments and we can have peaceful situations. It’s just not all the time or always.
When I left my abuser, I thought everything would just be okay because I got away. I was wrong. He chased after me for a while. Finally, he left me be. I left the fear and eggshell walking behind and gained some freedom. Yet, I wasn’t at peace.
A few years later, I had my own place, a job, going to school; I was just living life. It was a nice little situation, but it was far from peaceful. I still had my worries and uncertainties. I had some anger in my heart. I was lonely and searching for love in all the wrong places. I had the standard problems and I thought if I just keep going, it’ll all be fine.
Fast forward a few years and things were crazy difficult. I can pinpoint the day that I know there was a change. There was a move toward peace, calmness, and serenity. That day was the day I prayed to God to help me. I don’t know what one thing it was – I just know that afternoon, I got on my knees and prayed for God to rescue me.
Life didn’t change just because I said some words. I think life changed because I believed in something new. I believed that something more was possible. I began learning new things.
That was eight years ago. Form then to now, I learned that I am loved and never alone. I learned that I don’t have to do it all on my own strength. I learned that I am seen and heard and wanted. I learned that I’m not an accident and being adopted as a Christian is more than I ever knew it was. I learned that love transforms lives.
So here I am now, at the end of 2020 thinking about peace. This year has been chaos – fires, hurricanes, a pandemic, unemployment, poverty, hunger, and violence. It seems as if this year has been forsaken. It seems as if we have been forsaken. It seems it’s something new and terrible every time the next month comes around. And I want to talk about peace.
Earlier this week I wondered aloud – what if peace is walking with God? I think it is.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7, NLT.
This verse is the reason I think peace is walking with God. When we pray about everything – pandemics, vaccines, food, water, shelter, heat, cold, jobs, unemployment, loneliness, etc. Literally anything and everything. Whatever it is we pray about it. We get to talk to the big guy about all the things that are going on.
It seems impossible to say don’t worry about anything but I think it’s possible to stop worrying. It’s possible because “with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26) All things are possible because God created all the things – including the division between dark and night. If we give the things to God, he can do amazing stuff with the things.
To prevent worry – pray. I know that I always feel better after I have a good conversation with a friend about the things that are happening. I yelled at my son, my husband, my stepdaughter. I lost my job. I don’t have enough money. My car broke down. I need help. I feel sad, mad, angry, lost, uncertain. I feel everything, everything is wrong, I don’t understand. I talk about it all day, every day and he listens.
The God of the universe listens. He stops and listens.
So we pray. We tell him we are lacking, we don’t understand, we hurt, we feel, we exist in this terrible-beautiful-wonderful-imperfect-world that he created. Then we say thank you. We say thanks for the breath we breathe, the food we eat, the people we have, the life we live.
Then we experience peace. God’s peace. A peace that goes above and beyond anything that we can understand.
The verse is basically an equation. Pray about worry + Pray your gratitude = Peace.
That’s the difference between when I left and now. That day that I prayed, summer 2012 on my knees in my apartment. That prayer was a game-changer. It’s like being down 10 points in the last quarter where everything seems against you and putting in the MVP. Saving the best for last.
Jesus walks with us through the hard stuff in life. He fights the battles that we don’t have the strength to fight. He gives direction to put us on the right paths. He keeps us going when we don’t have any money, strength, ideas, or plans left. He stands in front of us when the storms of life would blow us over and tells the storm to stop blowing.
We can’t see it and don’t fully understand. Yet, peace happens. Peace beyond our understanding.
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