Peace… where does it come from? How does one get it?
When we experience upheaval or chaos in our lives, we can become disengaged with our surroundings. We can experience shock or disillusionment.
What should one do when this happens? Of course, I think we should seek peace, we should desire resolution for the issue or problem that has come into our life.
One of the passages in the Bible that speaks to this issue is found in Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
On September 13, 2016, I was laying on a physician’s table while a doctor performed an ultrasound, trying to figure out why I had felt sick the last few months. As she hovered around my sternum, I knew something was wrong before she even said so. I finally broke the silence and asked her if she had found something. She explained that there was a spot on my pancreas.
If you need more background, read “The Art of Waiting.”
While I must admit that I experienced some shock and disillusionment in those first few days of my uncertain diagnosis, soon a peace came over me. A peace that “transcends all understanding.”
Surely, we all know or have experienced what I felt at that moment. How did my feelings turn from shock or disillusionment to peace? Where did that peace come from?
Ten days after laying on that table, I found myself flying into DFW airport. During the most uncertain time in my life (to date), God flooded my soul with peace. In many ways, I can see now that the Lord was preparing me for this journey.
Three years ago, the city where I lived, Donetsk, Ukraine, was in turmoil. The president of the country either left or was forced out of office (depending on who you ask), which left a vacuum of leadership. Then Russia took Crimea, and before too long, protests broke out in numerous cities across the south and east of the country.
Living in the center of Donetsk gave me a bird’s eye view of the protests and the protestors. All through the month of March and into April, I watched and prayed, and even cried, knowing the city I had grown to love was in turmoil.
Then on April 12, leadership and I decided that I should leave for a while, hopeful that I would be able to return. And while I did return in May of 2014 for 3 days, I have not been able to return to the place I called home. Yet, there was a peace that came.
Peace is oftentimes unexplainable. It just comes. It comes from a reliance on an loving God who promised to be with me through it all. It comes from believing the Word is true and, therefore, God is trustworthy… no matter the circumstances.
So, when the doctor tells me that I have stage IIB pancreatic cancer, I hold on to the promises of God. I hold onto Phil 4:4-7 to rejoice! To not be anxious! To know that peace will come in the midst of uncertainty! And that is what I hope to do every moment forward.