What does that mean? When we think of peace, we often think of the absence of conflict. However, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt.10:34 NKJV). So what did He mean when he said, ”Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27 NASB).
Fifteen years ago, we received a phone call from a physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver. He said, “Your son Jason (our oldest in his senior year of college) has contracted a rare condition known as Guillian-Barre’. He is currently paralyzed from the waist down, and the paralysis is spreading. You need to get on a plane and get out here now!”
We immediately began to pray and seek God. However, the severity of the situation had not completely sunk in.
When we arrived at the hospital, we found that Jason was losing the use of his arms, and we were told that, if he did not respond to treatment soon, he would lose the use of his lungs as well.
Our son was 21 years old, 6’3”, a top level competitor at national and international fencing tournaments. He had been the picture of health and strength, with a quick wit and a big heart. Now, there he was, barely able to move; even his voice was low and weak. Our hearts were broken to see him like this. Our prayers became more desperate.
Over the next week, we watched him sink lower and lower. He was placed on a ventilator when he could no longer breath, and they sedated him as the emotional strain was too great.
We had no more tears left to shed, and our hearts were ripped wide open, yet we still had peace. At this point, our times of prayer were mostly silent. We had said everything that was in our hearts a thousand times. There was nothing left to say; all we could do was sit in the presence of God. Here there was a peace;, here was the only place of comfort (Phil 4:7).
The physicians said they would try an alternate treatment. They didn’t know if this would be any better, but within a few days, Jason began to get stronger. It took months for him to regain the full use of his body. Today, he still has a few lingering effects, but for the most part, he lives a normal life.
Our precious Lord has given us a wonderful gift of peace (Jn 14:27, Gal 5:22). This peace is a gift that we need to accept and wrap around our hearts (Col 3:15). Jesus does not promise peace without a storm. Quite the opposite: He warns that storms will come, but He will show us how to survive the storm if we keep our eyes on Him (Is 26:3).
Life is full of difficult situations. As we walk along, we can choose to walk by fear or by faith. If we walk by faith, we get to see a side of God and His perspective that we would not see otherwise. We get to experience a peace that endures and comforts, not just in times of trials but always.
May His Peace reign forever in our hearts.
-Jef and Roxanne