Oh, my sweet, precious, innocent toddler. On Sunday, she had one of her roughest days emotionally to date. It was as if all you-know-what unleashed and she was inconsolable. You know those moments when you start crying about something, but don’t remember why you are crying, yet you can’t stop? That was her. For most of the day. She paused to be her usual self during church. Then it was back “on” when we arrived home. The crying, the screaming, the thrashing around – she was in clear distress.
Our best guess is that she was having a doozy of a teething day. Lately, she tells us what hurts and can communicate what she wants or needs. But that was not happening on this day. Her pain was evident, but she was not accepting of any comfort from her parents. She didn’t even want to call her grandparents (that’s a first). We knew something was wrong, and we tried to hold her, talk gently to her, distract her – all the things. Nothing worked.
Something hurt. She was in distress. She was not feeling peaceful. She was not acting peaceful. She wanted us to help her, but our help was frustrating to her. She finally crashed on the floor, at my feet, as I softly sang Christmas hymns.
Watching my child in such distress reminded me of our relationship with God. Now, unlike God, I am not a perfect parent. He is, though. Which means He knows exactly what will soothe me and exactly what I need. Yet, I can resist that comfort. Sometimes it’s a lack of acknowledgement of His comfort. Other times, it is a striving to “fix” what I think is causing the distress. And sometimes I honestly want to continue feeling bad because that is what is familiar or comfortable.
God is a God of peace. He offers Himself to us in our distresses. But sometimes our distress feels bigger than our God. That is when we have to remind ourselves that even His peace is bigger than our pain. I am not about to discount the intensity of pain. Our pain is very real and often does not go away. Grief and other pains can shake us to the core, leaving us never quite the same as before. This powerful pain points to an even greater and inexplicable peace. That is what makes peace so much more of a gift of God Himself. Because it is greater than our most intense pain. And it is what offers healing and comfort within the pain.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
Both of these verses may come up again later, but for now, let us consider some key points:
- He is Lord of peace. He embodies peace. He created peace. He is peace.
- Because He is with us always, it seems fitting that we ask for peace “at all times in every way.”
- He gives peace. Freely.
- The peace God gives is different from the momentary relief and tactics of the world’s attempts at peace.
- We don’t have to be afraid. He gives peace. Again, He is peace.
Questions to consider:
What are you expecting of peace? Is the peace you are looking for relief from your distress or a quieting of your spirit?
Are you willing to receive peace? Your immediate answer may be “of course!” But are you open
to receiving peace in the way God gives it?
Ponder the fact that God is peace.