I once heard it said that peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of someone. There were a few tough moments in my life where I remembered very clearly everything that I felt, the reason behind every tear, and the exact words I prayed. But, oh, those few moments that I do remember.
They forced me to cling to that peace with everything in me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. I was raised Christian and at a young age I put my trust in Christ for salvation. However, it wasn’t until I was about 13 that I encountered God for the first time.
I had never really gone through anything too tough until then. Life was pretty great, which sounds lovely… But looking back I realize, when life goes the way you plan, there’s no reason to lean on something stronger than you are. So perhaps the hardest times are the biggest blessings in disguise. I’m going to tell you the story about that first encounter I had with God. When I was around 13, my grandpa got very sick, and the thought hit me that maybe he wouldn’t make it.
He had always been one of the biggest spiritual influences in my life, and the thought that I might have to say goodbye him, hurt more than I can explain. It was one of the hardest things I ever went through, and it forced me to seek out strength from something greater than me. I remember one late night, during that tough time, I was lying awake and did the only thing I knew how to do. I prayed.
I prayed until tears were rolling down my face, and I used all of my strength to say, “God, I know he’s a fighter… But please don’t let Heaven gain another warrior yet.” That was the first prayer I ever really prayed. And when I prayed it, that was the first time I ever felt that peace. I felt His presence, I felt Him holding me… and I knew that no matter what ended up happening, it was going to be okay. Even if it hurt.
After that night, my grandpa slowly got better. However, I also have been through tough times since where… well… things didn’t get better. Where God didn’t part the waters.
And maybe that’s where you are right now. Maybe the waters haven’t been parted for you yet. Maybe you’re just wandering in the desert right now, where you never planned on going.
My friend, if that’s where you are right now… I just want you to know that you’re not alone. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze.” We are not promised a life away from pain, we’re promised that God will be with us through it all.
Peace is not the absence of something. It’s the presence of Someone(God). And that Someone has promised He will never leave. He will always be there with you, holding you, and telling you it’s going to be okay. Pain may last through the night… but joy comes in the morning. Also, allow me to remind you that joy comes in the mourning.
You may never have planned on ending up where you are, but hidden in this trial is a beautiful opportunity to cling to the One who’s holding you. He’s with you now.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33