It’s suppose to be perfect. At least that’s what the prophet Isaiah says in the book God inspired him to write and name after himself.
“He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
It’s suppose to be a fruit of the Spirit. At least that’s what Paul says in the book of Galations.
“And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace….” Galations 5:22
Just for the record, I didn’t even have to look up those two Scriptures. They are engraved on my heart and written down in permanent ink within the crevices of my mind where sometimes…when I am fighting the demons of worry and anxiety…I yank them out with a mighty tug and repeat them over and over.
Some mornings I wake up desperate for peace. I want it. I n-e-E-E-ed it. I long for it. I pray for it. I ask God for it. Some mornings I depend upon this blessed peace like the air I breathe. Happy am I when the promises of God invade my soul, when the faithfulness of God washes over me in bucket loads, coating me with confidence and assurance.
Who doesn’t need some peace these days? Real peace. Not the kind that’s masked with layers of doubt or unbelief, but the kind that’s steadfast and sure.
Some of us need only a dash of peace and we’re good to go. At least for another 6 hours.
Some of us need it poured out like a soothing rain. And we need it every moment of every day.
One of the things I’ve learned is that peace is always there. Ready and waiting for the child of God.
Yes, peace can be perfect because it’s made perfect in Christ. We can’t avoid strife on this earth. It comes to all of us, but it doesn’t have to shake us. It doesn’t have to topple us. It doesn’t have to rule over us. This perfection comes only when I keep my mind on God, on Christ, on things above. It’s perfection at it’s very finest. Completeness of heart and soul. Soundness of thought and mind.
Yes, it’s a fruit within me because I’m a child of the King. Maybe this fruit isn’t always ripe and ready for picking, maybe it isn’t always available in great abundance, but I know it’s there. It’s mine. And even when I struggle to find it in the midst of my cluttered-distracted-and-imperfect-self, I can recall seasons of distress when I not only embraced the blessedness of peace…I lived in it. How positively, how completely, how absolutely perfect it was, too.
It was back in 2002. I was listening to my physician tell me over the phone (back before my degenerative hearing got so bad and I could still carry on a phone conversation with relative patience) that my MRI had revealed a brain tumor and it had to come out. I’d been having dizzy spells, vertigo, fogginess in my brain like I was on cold medicine all the time. Ironically, one of the first and one of the main symptoms of an acoustic neuroma is loss of hearing. Very ironic.
I remember trying very hard to understand what my doctor was telling me, but all my brain was processing were the words…brain tumor…brain surgery. My heart started racing. I could feel my pulse pounding throughout my body and I seriously considered grabbing a paper bag to begin breathing treatments.
But…and this is a BIG but…when I hung up the phone, got up from my chair in the dining room, walked through the kitchen to the family room where my husband sat waiting I can’t even explain to you the powerful way peace washed over me in that moment. BUT. It. Did. It happened. I felt it. I experienced it. I embraced it.
For the next three months as I awaited surgery, this peace carried me. It empowered me. It equipped me. I can’t even tell you how many people noticed it, commented on it, questioned it.
I realized many months later that for those who strive to live and walk in the Spirit, peace is real. True peace isn’t fake. It isn’t phony. It isn’t elusive. It’s there. I just have to let it take root and bear the fruit Jesus intends for it to produce.
Because I’ve known this kind of peace in times of strife I know what it feels like. I wish it came to me as quickly, as powerfully, as perfectly as it did facing brain surgery all the time, but to be honest…sometimes I have to fight for it because the enemy comes against me in some really unexpected ways these days. I hate it that he won’t leave me alone. It makes me fighting mad.
But I know what to do. When worry and anxiety want to get the best of me, I stop. I literally come to a halt. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I put on my shoes of peace and pick up my sword of the Spirit and I quote Scriptures like these (Yes, they’re engraved on my heart!),
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14
And I repeat like a mantra…I will trust You, Lord. I will trust You, Lord. I. Will. Trust. You.
Somehow peace comes to me. In all it’s perfected glory. It comes. It’s still there. It’s still real. It’s still a blessed fruit. I may have to wait for it to sprout some blossoms, but when it comes…it’s mine. I breathe in it’s fragrance and I am comforted.
And you know what else? No one can take it away.