I woke up and reached over to the bedside table for my phone to see what time it was. It was just three o’clock in the morning. I groaned. I slipped out of bed as quietly as I could. I didn’t want to wake my husband or our three little dogs stretched out at the bottom of the bed. I opened the bedroom door and thought to myself, one more time, “I need to put some oil on that squeak.”
I crept downstairs, lit two of my favorite candles, boiled the kettle and made myself a cup of tea.
“Why on earth am I wide awake in the middle of the night?” I wondered.
I settled into my favorite chair in the den as Maggie, our Yorkie decided to join me. I scratched behind her ears and she fell back to sleep on my lap.
There had been a lot of bad news on television the previous few days. Hurricanes, devastation, wildfires, a mass shooting. It felt as if the world was getting more out of control by the minute. Closer to home, two of my dearest friends had recently been diagnosed with cancer. No warning. Out of the blue, life had changed for them and their loved ones.
In the quiet, I lifted them up to the Lord. I asked for healing, for grace, for strength and for hope. I prayed for those I didn’t know, for those who had lost loved ones, who had lost their homes, for those struggling to find a reason to hope as they faced the reality of what their lives now looked like. Nothing can prepare you to lose everything in a matter of moments.
Sometimes we get a warning when a storm is about to hit. The national weather service issues storm watches and warnings but not everyone has the time or means to get away from danger. Often the poorest of the poor are the most vulnerable and pay the greatest price but truth is, storms hit us all.
Personal storms can move in with lightning speed and devastate the landscape of our hearts and we never saw them coming.
As I sat in the quiet that morning with a gently snoring dog on my lap I thought about you. I thought about the vast numbers of people that I may never meet on this earth but who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I thought about those of you who are hurting, who feel broken and crushed right now. Although I may not know your name, Jesus does and I lifted you up. The question pounding inside my heart was this,
“Lord, how do we live in the peace You promised when there are storms all around us?”
I picked up the well-worn Bible that I keep beside my chair and opened it to the conversation Christ had with his best friends on the night when He knew He was about to be betrayed. He would have to endure a mockery of a trial and then take that long walk up a hill to face a barbaric execution. John records those profound hours in chapters 13-17 but as I sat in my chair that night, I turned to the verses I had underlined that speak of peace.
I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. — John 14:27 NLT
Peace of mind and heart. Peace that is only found in Christ.
Then Jesus told them that hard times were coming. He tried to prepare them for the persecution that was ahead, for the unprecedented storms on the horizon. And then He said this,
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. — John 16:33 NLT
Christ had just shared some very difficult truth with His dearest friends and yet He said that the very reason He was telling them was so that they could know peace when the storms hit.
What is this peace that Christ speaks of? It’s clearly not circumstantial as He promises it in the middle of trouble. Perhaps it’s easier for you to believe that for others than for yourself but if it’s a promise from Christ then it is true in the best days of life and the worst, for the richest and the poorest among us.
If you find yourself in the middle of a mess right now Christ wants to speak peace to you. Many things in life are a mystery to me but this one thing I know for sure,
God is for you.
He sees you, knows you and loves you. This is what I know about peace,
Peace is not the absence of trouble. It is the presence of Christ.
That is my prayer for you.
Right now, I pray for my brothers and sisters. You know what each one is facing. I ask that Your peace would flood their hearts and minds. In the quiet of this moment Lord, we receive Your peace.
In Jesus name,
Written by Sheila Walsh for Devotionals Daily and FaithGateway featuring her new book In the Middle of the Mess, copyright Sheila Walsh.
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