published: Sunday, December 09, 2012
Present and eternal peace
Peace. How easily it can elude us.
How joyful and full of anticipation my husband, Ken, and I were as we enfolded our two families into one over thirty years ago.
Everything was "coming up roses" as we looked through our love-tinted glasses. Our lives were peaceful and full of hope.
But after only a few months of marriage, asthma struck my husband. Sickness hovered and trapped us in its debilitating grasp. The peace in our home seemed fragile as nerve endings frayed with physical and financial exhaustion.
That first year, peace eluded me. Christmas was spent in the emergency room of the local hospital. Our young boys played with small toys in the waiting room while Daddy was admitted.
Three years later, through burning some moldy logs in our wood stove, we discovered that our home harbored mold that was sapping the health and life from my husband. We set out to remedy the situation, but peace seemed hidden away until one morning in church I heard these words from Isaiah 61:3, NKJV,
"To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."
It was like a healing balm to my soul as my heart responded to the Lord's voice. I knew then that he would bring beauty out of those ashes; joy for my mourning spirit; dress me in praise clothing to lift my heavy spirits. And in the process, we would be called trees of righteousness -- standing tall and strong -- because the Lord had planted us so that he would be glorified.
I realized that the peace that passes understanding which is promised to all who believe is not just eternal, but is present no matter our circumstances. It has all to do with who Jesus is and our yielding to him and bringing him glory.
That year, despite our circumstances, Christmas came with renewed peace.
The "P" in peace stands for the person of Christ who alone can give this abiding peace that settles the heart and exudes calm confidence even in the midst of trials. The "E" stands for eternal. It is that peace with God and of God that is ours when we receive God's free gift of salvation through the gift of his son, Jesus Christ. His peace comes into our hearts and remains with us now and for all eternity.
A true gift of Christmas. Selah
Jan Merop of Sebring is a News-Sun correspondent.
Small Banner Ads