How do you find your peace? Where is your Happy Place? We all have one in mind. That dreamy place where everything settles just where it belongs. Talking about it at dinner with friends, the answers sound like: the ocean, the lake, an island. So, the sidelines of a game, teaching in a classroom, fighting traffic… not the ideal spots for peace? Yeah, I feel you. So, when Jesus says something like “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives.” That can totally be one of those lofty sounding scriptures that makes you want to 1. roll your eyes and 2. nod your head in passive acceptance.
But hear it. Listen to it. Jesus, the son of God who created the universe and it’s beaches and lakes. Jesus, who walked this dusty, hard Earth and felt all of our human emotions so He could really get us. That Jesus is offering you peace. And it’s not your peace. It’s not the massage, on the beach, with the candles and warm puppies prancing in the water. (Warm puppies, yes). He is giving you HIS peace. He even says, ALL THOSE YEARS AGO, “I do not give it to you as the world gives.” He knew then and knows now how we build up the perfect spot in our mind. He offers His peace plain and simple.
What blows my mind about the bible is that it just reminds me over and over how connected we all are; past and present and future. The book of Job goes back even further than Jesus and it tells the story of people thousands of years ago doing the same thing we do today. “Mortals search out the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness… in places untouched.. they tunnel… they search.” -Job 28
“THEY” are YOU, ME, US because we are still searching and longing for that spot where it all is just right. Back then and today, the bluest oceans still say, “Nope.” Job 28:14 says, “The deep says, ‘it is not me.’ The sea says, ‘it is not me.'” Now, please do not get me wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with an escape. I love the ocean and would go to the beach right now if I could. It IS a happy place for me. When I’m there I feel connected to the sound of the waves, the tiniest granules of sand, the wide open-ness of it all. God is a an artist.
But I can’t get there all the time. And God doesn’t give His peace the way we expect. I remember one specific time of when I have felt that peace. The unmistakable calm in the pediatric wing, under flourescent lights, in a hospital room. Not a happy place. We were on day 4 of our hospital stay with Joseph. He was so sick, so scared and pretty bitter because he felt “God forgot him.” We had just finished reading a book called, “Tashi.” I read all 400+ pages aloud in just a few days. Such a great escape from where we were at the moment!! The book was a gift from my friend Meredith and her daughter, Allison. As soon as it was done, we both cried. It’s like we realized where we were again. Joseph asked me to search for a sequel on Amazon. I was literally praying for the sequel and that it was “Prime” so we could get that book the next day. I remember the tension I felt in my neck, the tight grip on my heart to find the book. That’s where we were, ok? I needed God to get me that book for my kid NOW. I texted Meredith to ask if Allison had the 2nd book. I didn’t want to ruin the surprise but I had to know. And I prayed; “God please just have this book for Joseph. I need peace for Joseph. He needs to feel like you see him again.” Joseph said out loud, “Mom, let’s pray for the book. I have my roll of quarters from Ms Beth. I can’t walk to the snack machine so what if I buy the second Tashi book for Allison.” I am a cry-er. Tears are my thing. But at that moment, I held them back and agreed to his request. He prayed “God please let there be a second Tashi. And let it be $10. And please let Allison share it with me when she’s done.” Here is where the peace came flooding in. Because YES, there was a Tashi Sequel. YES, it was Prime. YES, it was under $10. All answers to his prayer. But right then, Meredith walked in and handed me the second book and left. I turned to show Joseph. And his face, I’ll never forget it. He smiled so big and started looking around the room, “Mom. He is here. God heard me just like that. He is here.” No blue waters. No sand. Just a smile and a book to remind me that God is with us.
God is for us. God just wants to share His peace with us. I don’t even remember if we liked the second book. I will always remember the calm, the assurance, the deep peace we had in that little room at that moment.
God is an artist in your world right where you are. Let Him meet you and gift you some amazing, tailored-just-for-you, delivered in unexpected way kind of peace.
Go ahead and ask for it.