“Peace on Earth “
“Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”
I don’t know about you, but I have lived through and observed others living through some less than peaceful circumstances recently and in years past. It’s one thing to see the turmoil in the world but what if that turmoil invades your life?
How can this be?
Were we not promised the peace of God when we entered into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ?
The life of Christ was anything but peaceful. Herod placed a “hit” on him when He was just an infant. The religious rulers were constantly attacking Him verbally and plotted to kill Him. He was persecuted at every turn. His execution was one of a criminal.
Jesus said, according to John 14:26~27 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.”
So, this “peace” is tethered to our realizing it is our relationship with God brought about through the death of Christ and the presence of His Holy Spirit that is our peace. He is our peace! The intimate knowledge of His sovereign love over my life; His delight in revealing Himself to me and through me to others; And this purpose fulfilled in God ordained trials in my life.
Paul says it best in Philippians 4: 4-8
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
I memorized this passage when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. God truly kept His promise of keeping me at peace during the ordeal. Choosing to focus on His truth rather than what the world might scream as it’s definition of peace.
And I was so amazed at how it was visible to others. Here is just one story.
We checked in at the surgery center.
I was presented with a not so gorgeous gown and bracelet.
I was focused on opportunities to share my eternal perspective with anyone who would stand still long enough to listen.
“I believe God holds my life and the number of my days in His hands. I don’t know how or when He will take me home but until then my job is to share Him and Christ with all I encounter.” This was my hope, my comfort.
The first procedure was with the head of nuclear medicine Dr. Littlefield. He would inject a substance into the tumor site. The desired result was that it would travel to the “sentinel” lymph node. This would mark the lymph node the surgeon needed to remove.
As I was waiting in a hallway, several people passed me. I have a habit of displaying what has been called a “Mona Lisa” smile. It’s just always there. Well most of the time. Some nodded but no one spoke to me.
A gentleman, about my age, walked up and pointed to the picture of the hairless woman on the magazine in my lap. “She doesn’t look very happy. What are you smiling about?” I don’t know that they see a lot of smiles in that department!
I shared with him that my hope was in my God who held me in His hands.
He grabbed my hands in his and said, “Well dear, you are in my hands now.”
I said, “No doctor, we are BOTH in His hands.”
He said “Well, you’ve got me there. You are a Christian? I’m surrounded by Christians.”
A couple of weeks later I had to have a bone scan.
The bone scan was done in the nuclear medicine department.
Yes, that was where I met Dr. Littlefield.
I was injected with some “stuff” and then had to wait about an hour.
In the meantime, I stopped at one of the nurses’ stations. As I was standing there, Dr. Littlefield approached. He raised his hand to me and said “I remember you. I believe the last time we spoke you were talking about your Lord.”
There were two other personnel standing there. Both were believers.
I thought.” Lord you have surrounded this man with Christians. Are you working in his heart?”
You see the first time I met him, he asked me about my smile. Many people saw me, but he was the only one who noticed my countenance. I know better than to think he was drawn to the outward appearance of a 50 something woman with no make-up and wearing a blue hospital gown. No, I believe God’s Holy Spirit had caused him to notice and ask the question.
I am expecting to see this man in heaven someday.
In the flesh I am a worry wart, given to anxiety. Christ Jesus has redeemed that in me and provided His peace. I still struggle to remember to choose to rest in His peace, but when I give into Him, it is glorious!!!!