Debbie Salter Goodwin
Peace in a Pandemic-Part 1
What pushes peace aside to make you
fearful, stressed, or struggling?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the peace Jesus promised in these days of Covid-19. We sing about peace much more than we practice it. Somehow, I don’t believe that’s what Jesus meant. Maybe this closed-in time has made me more introspective, but it has also turned the spotlight on some tug-of-wars to reveal places where Jesus’ peace does not live.
I want to change that. I hope you do, too.
Sometimes I fear we look for peace in the wrong places. We want certainty to give us peace. We want answers to give us peace.
But Jesus didn’t promise that peace came piggy-backed on such things.
So, let’s begin with some misunderstandings about the peace that can thwart stability, reduce perseverance, and pull us away from living resurrection truth. I have two for you this week.
1. Peace makes me okay with change or crisis.
When we settled the issue of moving three years ago, nothing was peaceful. In fact, my frantic push to get the house ready to sell by the spring of 2017 was nothing but deranged. It was push followed by shove with a few meltdowns thrown in. However, there was one place where peace lived and never went away. I knew this was the right decision for us, even though I didn’t like the timing or the process. It was Jesus’ coming through my bolted door, grabbing my fists, and holding me steady with His peaceful presence where it counted most. While there was no peace around me in the chaos of boxes and lists and final good-byes, there was peace inside because I kept hearing Jesus’ encouragement to move me forward.
I re-learned something I thought I didn’t have to review: that Jesus doesn’t bring circumstantial change to bring His peace; He just brings Himself.
Always look for Jesus before you ask for change. If He isn’t your peace before anything else is; you have a powerless substitute.
2. Peace is a good feeling.
I think that’s what we want, even search for: feeling good about something. If all we want is a good feeling, we can find something on our own that will make us feel better. No, the peace that Jesus brings goes deeper than feelings. His peace settles us where the real war wages, the war about whether we fight for what we want peace to mean or fight to be ready to receive what Jesus wants His peace to define.
The peace that Jesus brings may not remove a struggle or make anything easier. The peace that Jesus gives changes your focus. Jesus gets in your boat. He has the map. He knows the way through. When His presence becomes a reality greater than any threat or fear, you have more than a good feeling; you have anchoring truth. You know that nothing that waits for you can destroy what Jesus brings. He’s already been through the worst for you. Now he is ready to take you through your worst, too.
Always look for how Jesus changes your focus away from struggle and toward Him. He is your peace.
Do you see how these misunderstandings tempt us to accept a substitute for the peace that Jesus gives? Our true heart cry is for His peace, not our best idea of it. He starts in our hearts, not our circumstances. He brings His always-with-you presence that comes closer than our breath and heartbeat.
Meet Him there and let Him surround you and reorient you to calm you with His Peace!
Until next week, my prayer for you and me . . .