Not as the World Giveth


I greatly appreciate your comments on peace. I read them thinking how marvelous it is to have found so many people who understand the gospel, and who are spiritually evolved in their understanding who can express it so well and so powerfully. I think this is part of the magic of the UnBlog – that it brings so many like-minded, seeking and faith-filled people together.

Most all of you wrote that the peace which we derive from our Savior is far different than a feeling of relief or lifting of opposition. I agree. There is a big difference.

Mark said it very well: “I believe that [true] peace can only be delivered from one source, Jesus Christ the Peacemaker himself.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

“I am not convinced that the peace given by the Savior is the same as a feeling of intermission from a storm. Relief is different than peace. The feeling of peace given from the Savior, not as the world giveth, is unique and fully recognizable when felt, but a bit difficult to adequately describe. I have felt the euphoria of relief from a dire situation, but I would still prefer the gift of peace delivered by the Lord. It’s not only a feeling of relief, but an assurance of care from and by the Creator himself. It’s a feeling of calm, confidence and humility light, truth and knowledge all quietly felt at once. I know the adversary and his legions cannot produce that. Moses 1:13-15 describes this contrast. So, my answer is a resounding NO! The adversary cannot imitate the peace given by, through and from our Savior. Can we possibly mistake a feeling of relief as peace? I would say, only if you have never felt the peace offered by and through the Savior. They are two different, distinct feelings.”

I agree. There is an abiding, penetrating and healing peace the Lord gives when we trust Him and obey Him which often runs contrary to what is happening all around us. It is not always logical – in other words logic and reason say we should be scared stiff, but the Spirit gives us peace that He is with us, and we are in His care. This is when the circumstances no longer matter, we just know that all is well and we can view the world burning down around us with true peace.

Like you, I have experienced this many times. Some of these events were profoundly life altering, yet the Spirit spoke peace, and even before a solution presented itself, I knew all was well.

One such circumstance I wrote about years ago. It occurred when I chose (somewhat stupidly) to have surgery in Costa Rica to save money. We prayed about it, felt good about it, and made the arrangements. Everything went well until complications occurred after surgery and I grew desperately ill. The doctors told Terri that I would not survive – and I was so weak that I fully agreed. I knew I could not survive. It was horrifying. Not only was I very ill from the failed surgery, but they gave me several medicines I was allergic to and I broke out in boils all over my body. I had difficulty breathing and my heart began acting up. They wanted to do open heart surgery. My kidneys and other organs began to shut down. I was so sick my hair and fingernails quit growing. I have never been so in pain and weak. I had hallucinations and felt my spirit leaving my body. At this time my lungs filled up with fluid and they put me on a respirator. When I awoke with the tube in my throat I immediately realized it was not giving me enough oxygen. The tube was the size of a pencil. It was breathing like for a child.

I tried to signal to the doctors, but my arms were partly paralyzed from the medication. I couldn’t speak or even write. My eyes wouldn’t focus and I couldn’t hold a pen. When Terri came into the room minutes later she saw by my eyes that I was in trouble. I pointed and gestured and finally got the message through. She told them I wasn’t getting enough oxygen. The doctors didn’t believe her.

My vision was going dark. I knew I was in terrible trouble. Terri leaned close to my ear with tears running down her cheeks and said, “I can see you’re in trouble, but I don’t know how to fix it. The doctors won’t listen to me. But, I know that you can give this whole burden to Christ, and He will bear this burden for you. Just remember, this too will pass. Give it all to Christ.”

I thought about this deeply. Her words were inspired and powerful. “This too would pass” was all I could cling to at that moment. My thinking changed and I imagined myself submerged in water as if I was diving. That little tube was the only air I had, and suddenly I was grateful for it. Peace settled upon me and I relaxed. I considered every little puff a blessing. I waited patiently for each breath. The feelings of suffocation did not lessen for five days and nights but I was no longer afraid.

Each day Terri tried again to tell them that I wasn’t getting enough oxygen. They wouldn’t listen. On day five the main doctor finally looked at the respirator and said, “Oh, look there is a switch in the wrong position!” He flipped a switch and I could suddenly draw a breath without the machine interfering. I gasped and gulped until I no longer felt suffocated or light-headed. The tube was so small that I had to suck hard on it to draw air.

When the doctors realized what had happened, they told Terri I would have brain damage from the suffocation. I didn’t though. The only reason was because I found peace in Christ, and was able to relax and accept that He was in control, and that “this too will pass”. If I had struggled or panicked or fought, I would have used more oxygen and died or been brain-damaged. If I had pulled the tube from my throat I would have not been able to breathe on my own because my lungs were still filled with fluid. Because I was at peace, the little bit of air was enough.

I believe that every circumstance of our lives can be conquered by giving the burden, the fear and the solution into Christ’s hands, and then giving up our own need to control the outcome. This is when the peace that surpasseth understanding settles upon us, and even in our continuing pain, we know “this too will pass” and that we will rejoice.

Brother John

© June 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About Terri Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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13 Responses to Not as the World Giveth

  1. Rusty says:

    Just a quick thank you to all of you here in the “unblogosphere” and to Brother John. I really debated pushing the “Post Comment” button for my first post, here. I didn’t want to cast seeds of doubt amongst others. But the thing that finally allowed me to post was that I feel safe here, even if I express doubt about myself. I just want you to know that I don’t doubt the Lord. I know His kindness, love and patience are infinite, or we would all be in a world of hurt. He is the one I wish to meet and I feel a tremendous desire to be with Him. I think I’m having a moment like Nephi when he expressed doubts about himself – 2 Nephi 4:17…Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
    I just need to remember the latter part of his “song”…v. 34…O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. And so I shall.

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  2. ken h says:

    There is peace in knowing that we are never tested nor tempted more than we can stand, for the Lord will provide what we need to overcome through Jesus Christ. All of our trials and tests are given to us to draw us nearer to Christ. They are there in our lives to help us learn to trust in the Lord completely, to depend on Him, to look unto Christ in all things. The Nephites kept forgetting to put their trust in the Lord and tried relying on their own understanding. We read that they failed again and again and struggled to obtain and maintain real peace in their lives, not only with each other but with the Lamanites who sought to deprive them of not only the world’s definition of peace (the absence of war) but also desired to take their very lives. Building trust in the Lord will allow us to feel true peace. That has been difficult for me but I will not, nor must not give up and am striving to obtain and maintain the “peace that surpasseth all understanding.” I had a mild heart attack three weeks ago. My wife was very concerned and worried for my life. The Holy Spirit filled me with peace and understanding. The Lord has already promised me that I would be alive and well when He comes in glory as a mortal (hopefully a translated being). That spiritual fact filled me with peace and reassurance that everything is going to be alright. God gets all the praise.

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  3. Rusty says:

    I have heard or read this experience, before, and honestly, this is the one that kind of scares me. I don’t know if I could have done what you did, and since we will all face some kind of situation that tests us on this, that scares me a bit at this point. I don’t know if I’m ready for this, yet. Exercising faith for others is one thing. I have had lots of practice with that. For myself…that’s a different story. I’m not sure why but it does seem harder to exercise faith for myself – maybe because I see myself from the inside out. I have had an experience, once when I was an Eastern Volunteer for the Cumorah Pageant when I felt “wrapped” in Heavenly Father’s love and peace. It was much as has been described, above – basically indescribable and wonderful, all at the same time. But it wasn’t the result of surrendering myself as you did when you weren’t getting enough air. I guess I’m going to have to take this one to the Lord.

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    • I’m sorry, I surely didn’t mean it that way. Tests are unique to each person. There is nos reason to assume or believe that we will all experience harsh things. The point isn’t to experience pain, it is to learn trust and peace. Apparently, I am a slow learner, and needed a bigger lesson. If one is on the Lord’s journey, then by the time you arrive at a test, you are prepared. My point wasn’t that life is scary, but that it is overcome by faith in Christ, and by His peace.

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      • Rusty says:

        No need to apologize. The weakness is in me. As I said, I HAVE felt the Lord’s peace at times. Perhaps I’m just feeling less sure of myself right now. And I’m not sure if you were a slow learner or the Lord needed you to learn more quickly (in a way you wouldn’t forget) to be able to guide others who are searching. I really do appreciate what you share with us. But you are right – each of us have unique trials and lessons to learn. I have to remember – Nahum 1:7 – The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

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      • Robin Carlson says:

        Bro John and Sister Rusty;
        I feel I may have contributed to the scary/confusion questions about Peace and that I owe the UnBlog an apology. My intention was to bear thankful
        testimony, once again, to how kind, long-suffering, and merciful our Lord and
        Savior is. I really am continually astonished to re-realize, again and again, that He knows and loves me as an individual, even though I contributed plenty to His pain and suffering in Gethsemane and on Golgotha. It is sometimes very personally painful to realize my thoughts and actions contributed to His burden. I sincerely hope that His words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” had and have a more general meaning than is usually thought of.
        I also wish to clarify, a little, on my previous comment. I was intentionally vague about time, place, circumstances, etc. of my experience so as to respect other’s right to privacy. I’m pretty sure many of those who were involved are still among mortals and retain a vivid memory of the event (the car crash.) I have no desire to harrow up any of their feelings about what
        occurred.
        I also wish to share the fact that the Spirit has, since my first comment on this subject, brought to mind at least 3 other experiences where I was given the gift of Peace. Each realization was very humbling because it pointed out to me how blind, foolish and sinful I have been. The BIG difference is that I now can understand BUT I’m still a weak, sin prone mortal AND I am so grateful for the continuous nature of the Atonement and the Perfectness in all things of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
        Love you, my sister Rusty. I agree with Bro John’s response about how individual such experiences can be as none of my “Peace” experiences involved a deliberate willing surrender a trial to Our Savior. Why? I simply wasn’t aware of that facet of seeking “Peace”. I too struggle with having faith
        in the Lord for and about myself. I have been led to ponder the possibility that I am not forgiving towards myself. Hope this observation is of use to you.
        My apologies Bro John about length (once again over the “250″) and again thank you for the catalyst.
        Sincerely,
        Robin Carlson

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  4. Robin Carlson says:

    Dear Bro John;
    Thank you for the current post “Not As The World Giveth” Reading it prompted another of those “Aha, now (!) I see.” moments.
    I refer to a car accident I was involved in some years ago. In the moments after all the chaos of the crash itself; a subsequent rebound of my vehicle off a freeway guardrail; being prompted to stamp on the brake pedal to stop said vehicle from rolling, tail first, back into freeway traffic; then turn off the engine and put the car into “park”. Sorry, run on sentence there. Anyway there came a moment that I sat there in the driver’s seat, mentally asking the question “Is there any place in my body that hurts too much? Do I feel like anything is broken?” At that moment the most incredible sense of peace and calmness wrapped (and I do mean wrapped) itself around and through me.
    I am challenged to this day to find adequate words to describe how this “felt”.
    The best I have ever been enabled to find was that the physical sensation was similar to being wrapped from head to toe in the lightest, warmest, most finely woven silk robe imaginable.
    Thanks to the knowledge found here on the UnBlog I have been able to characterize the really favorable outcome of that crash as a series of “tender mercies” from the Lord and realize that (and believe me I was shocked to comprehend this) I had served as an instrument in the Lord’s hands.
    Tonight, as I pondered the ideas about Peace and wondered if I had ever experienced such, my thoughts were directed back to that “silk robe” moment.
    Amazed recognition swept over me as I was given the understanding that the answer to my question was “Yes, I most definitely have.” and that such Peace is totally unlike any other.
    I am so thankful for the UnBlog; (posts and comments both). I have so needed the understanding available here.
    May God bless all of you and especially Bro John. It can’t be easy to be so ‘out there’
    Sincerely
    Robin Carlson

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  5. darrell brashear says:

    Your story reminds me a lot of my mom who went in for open heart surgery a few weeks ago. The surgery went fine, but then her lungs shut down. Day after day they couldn’t get her off the respirator. Even with the oxygen turned up to the very highest level, she was still only getting about 83 percent, which worried the doctors greatly.

    A number of days later my brother Cheyenne and I both had a prompting simutaneously: We were to fast, and in that fast we were to turn her over completely over to the Lord. We would have to be willing to leave her in His hands even if that meant losing her in this life.

    We had given her blessings, put her name in a number of temples, and had asked for prayers from friends (thank you and Terri sincerely), but this fast felt like the last thing that was needed.

    The doctor called my sister Donna and told her we needed to meet at the hospital the next day to make some decisions. Between the time they called and the time we got there the next day, my mom came back. When we got there, she had the oxygen tube removed and she was awake and talking. The doctors were amazed at her quick recovery and we knew it was the Lord that had brought her back.

    During the time she was unconcious, she later told us that she had been to the spirit world on five different occasions. She told us that she knew about our fast and the choice we were given. She said that she was able to come back because we surrendered her to the Lord.

    This is another great witness to me that the promptings of the Spirit are real and that when we turn ourselves over to the Lord everything will be fine.

    Brother D.

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  6. Brother John, I couldn’t agree more, even with health problems. John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” There is no truth more powerful than the healing power of the Atonement, and it will set us free from any hindrance to our peace.

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  7. Flash says:

    We are in the middle of a turmoil which had me frazzled. I almost didn’t take the time to open this blog, because of a time-press. Now, I give thanks for the small voice which suggested I enter.

    Your story, Brother John, plus your wise addition, JJ Brown, are exactly the things I needed to read and remember. I never realized the spectrum of peace before. I never thought to ask for “true peace.” This is a new door for me to open.

    Thanks for the love and the wisdom the UnBlog community offers.

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  8. J.J. Brown says:

    I hear your message loud and clear, Bro. John: “Don’t have surgery in Costa Rica!”

    On the other message of peace, though, it brings to mind an MLK quotation I read at his monument last night:

    “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” (16 April 1963, Birmingham, AL)

    For most of my life, my prayers have focused on asking that HF help me avoid harm or hardship. Only recently have I finally been able to teach myself to ask my Father for true peace, which involves fully trusting in His arm for my instruction and guidance, regardless of the situation.

    It has only been when I’m successful in trusting in His peace that I’ve discovered how wonderful it is. It is certainly distinct, as you say, from the simple absence of trauma or tension. The peace that comes with trusting in the arm of the Lord is so much more.

    Thanks for another great post.

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