Eleven moves in seventeen years. Deployments, infertility, adoption. Friends we’ve lost too young and the continued, human fallout of a prolonged war. We were grieved by family who put conditions on their love for us. We were equally humbled by the daily practice of authentic and Godly forgiveness. Life wasn’t just messy, it felt chaotic with no end in sight. Peace remained for a day and left for a year. We couldn’t seem to hold on to it for long enough to catch our breath.
And then three years ago we stood on a dirt mound quietly holding hands. There were so many questions in the look he gave me. So many decisions to make on that pile of red clay and possibilities. My answer was simple as I whispered into the thirty acres in front of us. I just. need. peace.
While my husband and I stood together, making the difficult decision to become rooted and established after years of nomadic life, I begged God to usher in an immediate sense of peace. I needed the noise of the past seventeen years to fade away, replaced by a sense of calm. I was sure, in that quiet moment, I would know if we were making the right choice for our family. But what I was really asking was, God, can I trust You with this decision? We walked away that day, a decision made and my stomach fluttering with nerves, and I realized that I had again allowed my circumstances to dictate the meaning of peace in my life instead of dwelling in the reliable presence of God. The peace I desperately needed couldn’t be found on that plot of land but by faithfully trusting who God was.
The good thing about our hardest moments is that they tend to have an expiration date. A stuck marriage eventually finds its footing and moves forward. A wandering and rebellious child blossoms, seemingly overnight. An unexpected blessing pays the bills and remission suddenly offers a future you silently stopped planning months ago.
But where do we go when the season is long and our soul feels scarred from a constant state of turmoil and upheaval? How do we find the virtue of peace when our heart quickens with anxiety and the answers we need don’t come quickly enough?
Friends, true peace is the presence of Almighty God.
Experiencing the presence of the Lord is trusting who He is in the midst of hardship. It’s trusting God’s power and provision despite our circumstances and recognizing His character from our intimate knowledge of Scripture. Ephesians 2:14 says, “For He Himself is our peace”. Isn’t that glorious? It isn’t God plus circumstances. It’s not God minus turmoil. The presence of God isn’t a tabernacle in the desert or a home in the country. It is, very simply, how we choose to live out God’s presence in our lives. If we trust Him when He says He has a purpose and plan for us, then we can stop questioning the purpose of our pain, worrying that He won’t show up in time to heal and mend our brokenness. Peace remains when we are so intimately familiar with His Word, it becomes a calming undercurrent through the highs and lows of life.
I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but peace is available for you. Not the peace the world gives, but lasting, contended peace that surpasses our human understanding. God is good. He is faithful and He is present.
Praying you find peace today, tomorrow and always,