Have you ever seen an amazing sunset and said to yourself, “This is the most beautiful sunset ever!” …only to have it topped the next night?
I love it when this happens. Our small minds think we’ve experienced some of God’s best when really we have no comprehension of, nor could we handle, God’s best.
When I began writing this article I knew God’s peace in a fantastic way. And in His infinite wisdom, perfect humor, and loving embrace He showed me that I had only tasted of His peace.
“Dwell on These Things”
It was a particularly difficult day where I wrestled with homeschooling my children, dealing with their sin (all.the.time), and enduring the 12th week of my 7th pregnancy. I just didn’t feel right. I was filled with doubt, frustration, and self-pity. That evening, as I did my Bible reading and prayer, I poured my heart out to God. I wept like I’ve never wept in prayer. I saw my sin clearly, and I pleaded for the Lord to forgive my weak faith. I prayed His Word to Him and asked that He fill me with peace.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is TRUE, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8 — my emphasis added).
My thoughts were plagued with all that wasn’t true — all the what-ifs and made-up evidence. I knew that God’s Word told me to dwell on what is true and not to worry (Mathew 6:34). From the moment I said “amen,” I felt that peace. Peace about the pregnancy. Peace about homeschooling my kids. Peace that God is bigger than all my little problems.
I shared this with my Seminary Wives’ group on Wednesday. I had joy the next couple of days through the struggles of parenting six children and supporting my husband when we were both exhausted.
Then, on Thursday evening right before bed, I started bleeding. After a miscarriage a few months earlier, I feared the same thing was happening. It was a long night, but God was faithful. I had peace.
During an ultrasound the next day I was nervous, then…unexplainable peace. The sweet nurse said she didn’t have good news. But I was okay. Really. She explained that although my body thought I was 12 weeks pregnant, there was no baby. An empty gestational sac is all there was.
I was okay.
When I got home my husband told the children, and I remained strong. I was okay.
I really thought all was good. I was riding an enormous wave of peace, and I felt like we were going to get through this valley fairly unscathed.
The Real Trial
Then, the real trial hit on Saturday around 7:00 PM as I lay on the couch playing Dutch Blitz with my oldest daughter (12). Something very suddenly wasn’t right. I began to give in to fear.
I went to the bathroom, and my heart sank. Something was definitely wrong. I prayed for wisdom. God gave me wisdom (James 1:5). I was clearheaded for the sake of my children whom I didn’t want to alarm. I called Michael downstairs and said we needed to go to the emergency room now.
This whole time I was peaceful. I thought, Why am I so peaceful??! This doesn’t make sense! I’m bleeding profusely, I’m in real danger and I’m singing “It Is Well.” How does this happen?
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
I promise you I am not a strong person. I strive for holiness, but I mess up more than I succeed most days. At that moment, though I was so weak, all you could see was God’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).
That night in the ER was scary and surreal and humbling. I never knew a person could lose so much blood. I now know what it’s like to lose consciousness twice, I have a new respect for emergency room staff, and I know I never want to have a blood transfusion tube shoved in my arm again.
Despite all of that, I clung to the unshakeable truth that God is always in control. He would use all of that for His glory and my good (Romans 8:28).
Sunday morning I was released and went home to my children. Michael and I walked into a home where a dear family was leading our children in worship. Although I felt weaker than I’d ever felt, I loved singing hymns in praise to a great and awesome God.
Resting in His Everlasting Peace
I look back on all that happened with utter amazement that God loves me so much. No matter what the outcome, I know He never stops loving me (Romans 8:38-39). He is always strong, He is never caught off-guard, and His peace never runs out!
My experience is merely my experience, but the truth is universal for all God’s chosen people. In times of joy, in times of struggle, in times of pain, in times of exhilaration, God is there and faithfully listens to the praises and requests of His children. We need only to place our burdens on Him and rest in the peace He gave and gives us (Philippians 4:6-7).
Rejoice! We were not left alone!
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).