“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
What does God’s peace look like? For me, it’s not the appearance of an angel or the sudden disappearance of all problems; instead, it is the absence of worry and the comfort of Jesus. Within the last month, I’ve lost my uncle, my spiritual grandfather, and my mom is battling cancer. To say that I’ve had my share of tears is an understatement. However, I believe that my recent encounter with Jesus (read In the Valley) prepared me for this season of my life. When tragedy strikes, you don’t have time to get reacquainted with or reintroduce yourself to your Savior when all you really want to do is collapse at His feet and cry. In the past, I have allowed guilt, doubt, and anger to keep me from seeking the Lord when I needed Him most. Not this time. Because I have spent so much time with Him, I felt His hand even when I couldn’t feel anything else.
When my parents first told me that my mom’s cancer had returned, I grew numb. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t anything. I went right into protective mode. I learned her chemotherapy and traveling schedule, and made a point to be there as much as I could. I researched her medications and checked on my dad and brother. I screened her visitations (even from my apartment) and learned her new diet. When she began to lose weight, I took her to the mall. My brother and I became her chauffeurs (well, we always were). I didn’t give myself time to process or feel.
One day, a friend of mine asked how my mom was coping – and I told them. Then they asked, “How is Brianna?” I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know. When I went home that night, I laid flat on my bed and allowed myself to feel. I felt all the emotions that I wouldn’t allow myself to feel before. I was angry because we’ve been through this before and I thought it was over! Then, I was sad because I didn’t want to see her go through this again. Even in my confusion, I still recognized that I needed my Anchor, so I began to pray. Near the end of my prayer, I asked the Lord to give me His peace during this process. Over the next few days, no big white cloud appeared, but I did begin to notice I was less anxious and more aware of His strength in my weakness.
“They do not fear bad news; they will confidently trust the Lord to care for them.” Psalm 112:7
Like anyone else, my heart hurts at the onset of bad news. I am no exception to heartbreak. I mourn the loss of my loved ones and I wish I could take away every ache and pain that my mom experiences. I still shed tears and I don’t understand why…and that’s okay. I didn’t share this to seek pity, as my family is coping with the help of God and loved ones, and my mom is already healed in Jesus’s name. I’m sharing this to invite you to try on God’s most becoming accessory - shoes of peace.
"For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared." Ephesians 6:15
P.S. I requested my mom's permission to share her diagnosis before writing this. :)
Knowing that peace is sure to come, we are also told in scripture that Jesus Wept. Many of us may have heard this scripture probably a dozen times during random occasions. Often times, someone may have said this verse as a quick prayer to begin a delicious meal or to hurry off to bed. However, if we look at the true context of this scripture, it can actually provide our hearts much comfort and it can provide peace to our thoughts.
Jesus wept not because he lacked faith, but because he was full of compassion. Everything that Christ had done on the earth many years ago has not only left us the perfect example of living a Godly life, but to show us that we have no grief that Jesus was unwilling to carry. Even in His perfection, his emotions were honest and true . Understanding this can be comforting.
John 11:35, I believe is one of the most real and human moments intentionally recorded. It is instances such as this that lets us know that although we are believers, it is okay to grieve and feel sadness. Christ has not called us to a humanity that he himself was unwilling to take on. We are not deserted to a world into which Christ himself was unwilling to enter. When my grandfather passed away two years ago, I was deeply hurt and even became angry, but I knew that my feelings were valid because my Father in heaven had experienced these same emotions.
Sis, in order for us to obtain the peace that God desires for us, we must acknowledge our feelings of grief and anger. This walk with Christ is not that of self-sufficiency, and His message is not merely to the human understanding. It is salvation for the whole person and it is for every person. Our mournful hearts have never seen more clearly the divinity of Christ than when we understand the glory shining through Jesus’ human tears. So I leave you with this, if it wasn’t beneath our Father, it is not beneath us. Feel. Acknowledge. Grieve…and receive peace.