Often, I mistakenly associate peace with getting away. In certain seasons, the only way I can imagine peace in my life is by getting away. Put me in the mountains with quiet mornings, books, long hikes, and the people I love most... and then I will have peace. Or get me through this season of chaos, disappointment—fill in the blank—and show me the finished product... and then I will have peace.
The problem with this idea of peace is that it is significantly dependent on my view and my environment. We often associate peace with undisturbed circumstances or with certainty of what is to come in the future. If I am waiting for this moment, I will be constantly chasing my next peaceful escape (which may be months or years away) and living in an anxious, untethered state in the in-between. And that is just exhausting.
God is in the business of providing His peace in the midst of the chaos, pain, and uncertainty of our lives. Honestly, I wish He would just remove the chaos, but we live in a broken world where it will continue to exist. The hope that we have is He did not leave us to figure it out on our own.
As Jesus is preparing His followers for Him to leave, He spends time consistently reminding them that while He will not physically be walking beside them, He will leave them with peace. Not just any peace but His peace. (John 16:33; John 14:27)
He is extending that same peace to us. A peace that makes no sense in our world. His peace envelops us in our chaos and suffering. His peace reminds us that we are not alone even when we feel lost and alone. Some of the most tragic seasons of my life, when I felt I would be consumed by the ocean of grief I was swimming through, God washed me in His peace.
My circumstances did not change, I still lost my brother, I was still broken open by the weight of it. But God. God’s peace whispered over my heart that I was not alone, and He would not leave me. I knew this promise to be true because of the promise fulfilled in the birth, death, and resurrection of His son, Jesus.
I do not know what you are carrying this Christmas season. Maybe it’s a new diagnosis, the pain of a wounded and broken family, the weight of loss, or countless other things big and small. You may be reading my words and thinking, “That’s nice, but peace is not available to me.” I hear you. I am standing in the gap for you and praying.
I am praying over you this Christmas that our Prince of Peace, who left His throne, walked the earth, suffered, died, and conquered death for you, would draw near and wash over you with His peace.
We have the comfort and peace of a Savior who knows suffering intimately and draws near.
At the beginning of time God wrote into the story a rescue for each of us.
He gave His son for you and for me.
Throughout the Old Testament He reminds us of this promise and in the New Testament He shares the story of that promise fulfilled. Jesus came, laughed, and wept alongside us. He suffered and died for you and me. I pray the knowledge that you are immensely loved washes over you this season, and that His peace which surpasses all understanding would consume your heart and your circumstances.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 (NIV)
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.