Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled.” John 14:27
There are many of you that dread the dawn because it opens the door to yet another day of grief, of pain, of life without your loved one. At this moment, there is nothing I can say to erase what you may be feeling, but I can offer you one bit of solace that can be the balm to get you not only through this day, but through the days, weeks and months to come. That solace is Peace.
It is a word we’ve begun to take for granted because we hear it so much. For many, this five-letter word has come to signify a slogan, a cliché we hear in nostalgic 1960′s news reels, or in songs on the radio. But, what you may not know is there is power in this word.
Peace comes from the Greek word “eirene”, which means “order in the place of chaos”. In Hebrew, peace is “shalom”, which means “wholeness, completeness, tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outside world”. There is no peace quite like the peace of God. In John 14, Christ shares with His disciples that He is about to leave the world to join His Father in heaven. He explains to His disciples that, though He will be leaving physically, He will remain within each of them in spirit. Jesus tells them not to be afraid because when He does go to heaven, He will leave his peace with them, “not as the world gives [peace]“, but as God gives His peace.
This promise was not just for the disciples. It is for you, too. Grief is inevitable, and it may seem, when you are in the middle of such pain, that you will never know peace again, but this is not true. What God does is gives you a part of Himself that will allow you to navigate through the pain, through losing a loved one, through waiting to find your missing child. He tells us in Philippians 4:6-8, “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.”
What does any of this have to do with me? you may be asking. What it means for you is that God knows all about your trouble, your worry, your dread about this day. In fact, he knew you were going to feel this way before you even knew you would have to deal with these emotions. So, to help you not just get through, but become content while in the midst of all of the emotion, God gives you His peace. You just need to open your heart and accept it. But how?
First, pray and tell God how you are feeling. Though He already knows, He still wants you to communicate those feelings with Him. Pour out your anguish, frustration, disappointment, anger to the Lord in prayer. He is God, the All-Knowing, the Omnipotent, and He can handle it. Once you do this, then listen and be open to how God then gives you His peace. He may lull you to a restful sleep, or He may lead you to read scripture. Someone, whom God has chosen, may call to share a word with you or lift you up in prayer, or He may simple reveal Himself to you in song. However God brings His peace to you, trust in the moment and accept it.
Next, choose to remain in the bosom of peace by focusing on, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). And these admirable, true and noble things differ for everyone. Whatever it is that keeps you in the center of God’s peace, remain focused on that.
Don’t be dismayed if the world tries to encroach on your peace. Take a moment to refocus. Simply breathe. Just breathe. Inhale peace, exhale stress, fear, loneliness, desperation, grief. Listen to the music that soothed your soul, walk in the bounty of beauty God has given us called nature, read scripture, do something that realigns your focus on peace and not despair. This takes practice, especially if you are used to being tossed about by grief. Once the Holy Spirit makes you aware that you are not centered in peace, then all you have to do is regain your focus.
Finally, know that God is with you. He is standing by your side through the pain that keeps you up at night. Know that he will “never leave nor forsake you”, especially in the midst of sorrow (Hebrews 13:5). He is there. He never sleeps. He never slumbers. He is with you.
Rest in knowing that the “Lord of peace Himself [always] give[s] you peace in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Candance L. Greene is Editor for Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. Her work has been published in several anthologies including Bittersweet: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry; Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction; and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, and the Huffington Post. She is the founder of Cherishedflight Communications, LLC, an editing and writing service. Follow her on Facebook: cherishedflightcommunications and Twitter @cherishedflight.
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