by David Sisler
How would you define peace? Is it the absence of war? The absence of conflict? The absence of struggle? Or is peace, real peace, something very, very different.
Listen to one of the most incredible definitions of peace I have ever read.
“My father left three weeks before I was born. I was the seventh child and my mother was left with all seven of us. Mother hired herself out to do laundry and other jobs for her neighbors to make a living for us.
“I’ve lived through cold winters with no coat and only one pair of shoes and they had holes in the bottom. I remember being made fun of by the other kids, but I never remember being hungry.
“I never remember being unloved by my mother. I never missed my father and I was not taught to hate him.”
The woman continued, “I married a man who never loved me. He was a drunk and beat our children. He made fun of my belief in God, and he, too, left. We’ve been poor, but never hungry. I have never been strong in body, but I have always been able to support my children.
“None of my children are Christians,” she says, “but they are still alive and there is still hope. My youngest child has bone tumors and I was told he would never grow up. He is now 12 years old and a joy to my life.
“My daughter, 16 years old, yells and curses me, but she’s not on drugs and she doesn’t drink. She’s still in school. She keeps her body clean and she doesn’t chase boys.
“In the last 10 months,” she says, “I’ve taken in three different people who needed help. They all stole from me. The last one stole the motor out of my car. But I am still able to work and a friend gives me a ride.”
One last portion of her testimony.
“My brothers and sisters never write,” the woman says. “All the people who once loved me are gone on to Jesus, or have forgotten me. I am left alone, but Jesus is still here. I would have died of heartache had I not hoped to see the hand of God in the land of the living. My people are all strangers to me, but God is a living God, and all is well.”
Does that woman have peace? There is absolutely no doubt! She has peace that is not of this world. It is a peace which Jesus described simply as, “My peace.”
When Jesus made His last bequest to His disciples He said, “Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The world offers peace. Jesus made that clear. But the world’s peace always seems to involve remorse or regret about the past. It always seems to involve guilt and anxiety.
Please tell me how can you feel guilty, experience regret, be anxious for the future, and claim you have a peace that is worthy of the name?
“That is not the kind of peace I am giving you,” Jesus said.
“There will be every possible kind of affliction,” the Apostle Paul said, “but the affliction cannot crush you, if you live in the peace of Jesus. So many things will happen for which you will never have an answer, but those things will not lead you to despair. You will be constantly persecuted, but if you live in the peace of Jesus, you will never be forsaken. And when they strike you down, you will not be destroyed.”
Can you imagine being one of seven children and abandoned by your father? Then marrying and being abandoned by your husband and eventually by everyone who was ever dear to you? And then being able to say, “If it weren’t for the living Lord, I swear, I don’t think I could make it?”
That is a very precious peace. Do you have that kind of peace?
Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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