I dedicate this article to my beloved brother, who passed away three years ago today.
When we think of peace, we think of freedom from disturbance, a state of tranquility, restfulness, quietness, calmness of mind, or serenity. If we say, “Everyone wants peace” – is that a true statement? Not necessarily… Surprisingly, peace is sometimes elusive, because people may use the word “peace” for their own selfish motives. Humans have the capability to desire both peace and war, as well as the spectrum of conditions which lie between the two. War doesn’t always happen on the border between two countries. The battle can be in one’s mind (self-war), our homes, our workplace, communities, our country, and elsewhere. When a war appears in your life, whether it begins gradually or suddenly, how do you handle it and rebuke its fire? It may involve political, marital, financial, or medical issues but it’s intention is to destroy lives.
“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Ronald Reagan
He couldn’t have said it better. The true antidote to any war is love and acceptance. These are the things that will ultimately bring us peace. Unfortunately, some people don’t view it that way. But here is the question. How can we find this cure? Where can we get it? How do we offer it to others or apply it to our circumstances? First of all, how we define peace depends on the situation. Peace is agreement and harmony among people; it’s a relational empathy which points everyone to love one another, to be patient with each other, and to work together in order to reach their goals. It moves us away from hatred and betrayal. Most people desire peace, as living without it is frightening, painful, depressing, and frustrating.
With all that in mind, how can you find peace when you’re in the midst of a storm? How do you function when hope seems to be gone? It could be the loss of a job, or a place to live, the loss of love and harmony between people or countries. Or especially the loss of a loved one. Nothing can be more devastating than the death someone close to you. It can be the most catastrophic, tragic, and difficult time in one’s life.
I’m sure you have experienced some kind of war or peace in your life that completely caught you by surprise. You may want to know if I have. Oh, yes, I have! Living in the war and finding peace, or living in peace and then facing a war – I have seen it all. So my story may be similar to yours.
I have lost some of my loved ones in the war against a horrible disease – cancer. One of them was my beloved brother. I was heartbroken to lose one of my siblings. Though we lived far from each other, I was grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my brother during his treatment. I was able to encourage him to have hope and trust God during his painful journey. I told him my testimony – the story of how I found the truth of God’s love. I told him about God’s intangible and everlasting love, and how His love saved my life.
I shared with my brother that God desires no harm and His intention for us is to have a life filled with peace and purpose. But since we live on planet earth and have the gift of free will, we create wars for ourselves by the choices we make on a daily basis. If we choose to live a life near God, we must be ready as there will never be a dull moment. It will be filled with different emotions; at times joy and excitement and at others, sadness and strife. The difference is that if you have a relationship with God, you will feel his peace even in the midst of storms.
Will we feel warm and fuzzy all the time toward God and everyone else? No! We live on earth, not in heaven. We all have walked through the valley of darkness from time to time. Living close to Him means that you are at peace within yourself. When you are comfortable with yourself, you’re at ease with everyone else. When there is drama or devastating circumstances surrounding you, you will still be at peace if your eyes stay fixed on God . This kind of peace endures because your relationship with God is based on love, not on your feelings. Living close to Him is unpredictable. You never know what God has for you in the next hour. He is in control of all that is.
My brother listened and then he said,“Sis, you are very lucky to be touched and chosen by God”. Months later it was time for us to say our last words to him. His fragile body couldn’t endure the pain any longer. I prayed (Psalm 23) to him out loud right before he passed away. As I ended my prayer, I told him that the Lord was waiting for Him. Then I saw tears rolling down from his nearly lifeless eyes. I knew he heard every word of my prayer. The wall of my own tears didn’t allow me to say a final goodbye. It was the most painful moment of my life. How do you say goodbye to your loved one for the last time? I was gasping for air, and in that instant, I heard the Lord say in my heart, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Truly, with all that I had and with all that I knew, I was confident God was near and everything was under his control.
Psalm 138:3 says “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”
If I didn’t have faith in God at that time, I would have been absolutely crushed by the great pain. Instead, found myself accepting his death and trusting God. It was indescribable how I felt; I cannot put it into words. Of course I shed many quiet tears. But I wasn’t angry, blaming God or anyone else. During that mournful time, I felt something powerful within me that I had never experienced before. I couldn’t fathom how I could be feeling such a profound sense of peace, a kind of peace I could not explain. Peace in such a time of personal loss was shocking to me. I was in a state of awe! Certainly, it was the result of many prayers and the Lord’s unfailing love. The Lord’s peace and power rule the hearts of those who fear and trust Him. The peace of God’s presence coexisted with my deep sorrow. Through faith and acceptance of God’s will, it was possible to cope with great pain.
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Two weeks after my brother’s passing, I had a dream about him. I saw him young, handsome and in good health. I was crying with joy as he said to me, “Why are you crying? Everything is fine now.” It was such a relief to know that he was no longer in pain. He is happy and his spirit is at peace. I know with assurance where my brother is now. Life may end here, but if we have salvation through God, we can be certain of our destination after we leave this round green planet. Without a doubt, it is wonderful and helpful to have a group of prayer warriors surrounding you. As they lift you up in prayer, God hears them and sees right through every heart.
The LORD says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears and I will heal you….. (2 King 20:5)
Ultimately, the greatest gift of all is the Lord’s peace. This gift cost him greatly as He purchased it with His blood. We can receive this unfathomable gift by trusting Him in the midst of our storms. Keep looking up and seek His power and peace through the trials in life. After all, He is the prince of peace! Keep focusing on His unfailing love and hold on to His hand in childlike trust. As you trust, He will bless you with peace.
My prayer for you is this – May the Prince of Peace be with you in all your ways and may His peace rule your heart, mind, and soul.