“My peace I give unto you
It’s a peace that the world cannot give
It’s a peace that the world cannot understand
Peace to know, peace to live
My peace I give unto you”
“My Peace” – Marantha Singers
I’ve been thinking about how the peace that surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus is a gift that goes beyond anything I’ve ever been given in this world.
Exactly one year ago, my husband and I liquidated our worldly possessions when we left China. I’ll never forget the feeling of lightness and peace I experienced after the last piece of furniture made its way out the door and the last bag was zipped. We weren’t left with much, but we had peace in our hearts and a guarantee from God that he would never leave us nor forsake us. What more do I really need in life?
I go through phases where I cling too tightly to things and worry about this or that, but the experience of setting out on a new journey, old home behind me and new home in the fog in front of me, with only my husband, children and luggage was liberating. No longer do I fear letting go of things. I know that if every worldly possession I have evaporated into thin air at this very second, I’d be fine! I would be more than fine because I’ve experienced the peace of Jesus and the promise of his presence so deeply that I’m convinced there’s nothing that could separate me from it! NOTHING! Why do I worry? Why do I hold so tightly to my own plans and my own junk?!
There were seasons during our time overseas when I felt like we had made a big-time wrong turn in life. I let myself look at my peers back in Texas and saw their nice houses and affluent careers. I compared my concrete block apartment to their single-family dwellings in fresh-air suburbia and called my lot “no good!” I doubted God’s plan and His goodness. I wondered how I could be so ignorant as to move to China and claim God had called me there.
But God always drew me back to himself after those hard seasons, and he showed me how blessed I am in the heavenly realms. Friends, if we could get even the tiniest glimpse of how great the eternity he’s preparing for us truly is, worry and comparison and grief and strife and jealousy would all fall away, and we’d be left with the glorious gift of peace.
I wish I could somehow capture the profound peace—the complete lack of worry—I felt that day when we descended the stairs of our Chinese apartment building for the last time and drove to the airport, Christian hobos on the loose once more. I need that peace as I’m surrounded by my own junk again (how does stuff accumulate so quickly??) and I’m tempted to cling, once again, to my own plans for satisfaction. If my time in China meant nothing else and happened for no other reason than for the experience of true peace in the midst of a storm, it would be worth it! (and how great to know our time in China meant so much more and happened for so many other reasons!)
I don’t know where you are in your overseas journey…coming or going, or somewhere in between, but I want you to experience the gift of peace in a tangible way that will leave an impression on your heart. If you’re homesick, peace will comfort you. If you’re celebrating with family for the first time in years, peace will cheer you! If you’re just plain stuck in the middle of a hard time, peace will sit with you and assure you of blessings to come.
Would you take a minute and acknowledge the presence of Jesus with you wherever you are right now? Know that he’s there, he’s got your back and he cares for you more than you’ll ever know! That is the true gift God has given to the world! Press on and continue walking the path he’s marked out for you, trusting him every step of the way.
How can you embrace the gift of peace this Christmas? Have you experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding? How has that experienced shaped your present life?
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