John 14:27 (NLT)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
More than three years ago when our son was diagnosed with cancer, I was a very different person. Quite ambitious and competitive by nature, the little job I had taken to pass the time from when I dropped the children off at school to when I picked them up had become a fast-paced career. Promoted many times in the first couple of years, I was the supervisor over three departments. Normal work hours began to stretch from drop off and pick up to early until well after five. It didn’t stop there. Work began to make its way into my home life. Notifications on the phone, checking and returning emails, topics of discussion, I didn’t even realize it was slowing taking over my life. Stress went from mental to physical as hives and indigestion plagued my life when the burden on each day didn’t remain at the office but followed me home. I couldn’t sleep at night so I began to take melatonin to escape my overwhelmed mind. It’s sad how we become so wrapped up in this life that many times we abandon things like peace handed to us by the Father to work harder not smarter.
All of that changed shortly after our son was diagnosed with cancer, he went to pack up his life and withdraw from school as I began to figure out a schedule to care for him. I assured my employer that this would not be an “issue” and I would alternate his care with other family members. For two weeks, I tried to figure out a way to maintain my work load AND care for my child. We needed the income. I couldn’t let them down. When I met him at the hospital the day before treatment would begin, I watched my over six-foot emaciated child stand up and when he turned to look at me my heart broke into a million pieces. I couldn’t leave him. I had to stay with him. My love for him shattered my hardened heart. I picked up the phone and called my boss. “I can’t leave him. I’m sorry!” I will never be thankful for cancer. I loathe it with every fiber of my being. But I am so very thankful for Jesus who takes horrible moments like that as an opportunity to pour His Love all over us. I was changed in an instant and it has lasted until now.
Back to normal began about ten months ago, our son’s bone marrow transplant was a success and as usual the Lord showed up and showed out as his recovery was nothing less than miraculous. Returning to my job, I was sure things would finally go back to normal. But they didn’t, now that I was back and things better on the home front it was time to get down to business. As much as I tried, it just wasn’t in me. I began to pray asking God to show me what was next for our family. I didn’t have the same thing to give this employer that would meet his previous expectation and I was not willing to forfeit the peace I had found in this journey. Family was my top earthly priority as it should have been all along. I can now share that the Lord has given me a new job. It is an exciting new adventure. I know it is God because I have amazing peace.
Most people do not leave state or county jobs for private industry. It’s hard to break in unless you have family there or know someone. They have good benefits and other things. It’s hard to get fired from such a position if show up every day and make your eight. So I should not be surprised that it has taken me a week for them to understand, I want nothing from them I am simply leaving to pursue something new. I have spoken personally with the administration one by one and it seems hard for them to understand that I am not mad, disgruntled or the slightest bit agitated just saying, “Goodbye!” I will work hard up to the last day. Finish as many projects as possible and help them transition as much as I can. Why am I sharing all of this with you? Probably because the Lord wants to remind us all today that He has given us peace. We can live in peace. We do not have to worry or stress. We do not have to succumb to the dog-eat-dog, step-on-everyone up the corporate ladder to have the security we need in life. All we need is Jesus. All we have to do is walk in love.
Since I made this decision to pursue peace rather than a paycheck, God has once again outdone Himself. My new employer has given me a raise without a day in the office. I have all the benefits that the state offered. I will be able to accrue leave time so that I can spend time with my children and even take a vacation. Every natural need has been met, but wait here is the really cool part. I feel free again. The inner struggle is gone. I am walking in the Peace of God. How do I know? I sleep at night without assistance. I don’t get stressed out and covered with hives anymore. I am free to walk in love and do what I was called to do in this life. Do you need to be free again? Do you have peace that passes all understanding? If not, it is time to pursue it. It’s yours! It belongs to you! Jesus gave it to you and the world cannot take it away! Only you decide who can have it and how much it will cost?
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens. We come to Jesus all the time with our burdens AND expectation of how He will relieve them. Most of the time there is a price tag attached. The Lord goes on to tell us to “take my yoke upon you.” The yoke that is offered here is peace. It is free. The only hitch is you have to release your cares, worries, and burdens – physical, mental, financial and otherwise – to the Lord. You got to let it go. We come to Jesus but tend to keep holding on to the burden rather than taking the yoke of peace offered by totally trusting Him with our life. Money ain’t everything. In fact, the sooner money takes its proper priority in our life the quicker God can do something above and beyond anything that we could think or ask. Money ties us to the world’s economy but favor locks us into Kingdom economy!
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
The Grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ is all we need. Peace is coming to terms with the grace that God gives us and living in it. I love the passage in Luke that says God’s Tender Mercy broke upon us and gives us light to guide us to His Peace. (Luke 1:78-79) The Favor of God that allows us to live in peace is not because we are able to anything of worth for the Lord. It is not for those who work the hardest but those who love Him the most. I love my husband. I trust my husband completely with my life. Trust is an act of intimacy. We have a thriving relationship because we have become one life. Peace is the product of accepting God’s Grace and living in His Favor knowing that it is and always will be enough. It is contrary to human nature that says only the strong survive and if you want it you have to work for it. Faith is not what we see but what we know about the Lord. His Grace is always enough to keep us in covenant agreement with the Lord so we can have His Peace if we want it.
Galatians 3:3-5 (NLT)
How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
As I begin the process of taking the next step, even though I know it is what the Lord has for me, it will not be easy. I have formed relationships with co-workers. I feel responsible for certain things. But the peace that I feel in my heart, mind and body make it worth the difficulty of letting go. Are you in bondage to your job? Do you feel hindered by your current situation? Have things suddenly taken a difficult turn? Are you struggling to find peace where you are? We must decide in our life what the most important thing is. I cannot decide for you what your top priority will be in each day. I can promise you this. Tomorrow is not certain. While you are chasing the American Dream, those kids are growing up. If you are giving your all at work, there will be nothing left to build your home. Without Jesus, no amount of money will ever give you the peace that is missing from your life. His GRACE is always, always enough. In fact, there may come a day when His Peace is all you have to make it to tomorrow. Will you have that peace when you need it most?
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Well, I am about to head out and try once again to convince my employer that as wonderful as the experience has been it is time for me to move on. I have decided that my strongest desire is to pursue and preserve my peace that belongs to me. If you feel like you are going under, drowning in the sea of life, grab a bucket and start bailing. Just begin to cast those cares on the Lord. He cares for you! He is listening. In fact that moment that you make your request for God to reorder and right your life – He will immediately send forth the command in Heaven. Don’t stop praying until you have laid it all out to Jesus now turn and walk away. Don’t pick up anything just take His Peace and run with it. When I ran out of options in this life, I found that He is more than enough for me. I want to live like that every single day of my life so with that I am off to pursue peace!
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT)
Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.