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