Waiting is a challenging thing. It is one thing to await a special event; it is quite the opposite process when time lingers before a challenging task or circumstance.
The morning of my cancer surgery I struggle with what to do with my time. I am not thrilled with my afternoon surgery appointment because I know that my mind will be racing in circles all morning, anticipating the events to come. Trying to ignore my hunger pangs, as I hadn’t been allowed to eat for hours, I begin mindlessly surfing the internet to bide the time.
Moments before I need to start the long drive to the hospital, an email notification pops up. A Christian friend sends me encouragement and within her email she says that she is praying that I have incredible peace.
Up until this moment, my mind scurries with a plethora of prayers about so many aspects of my surgery, recovery, and treatment. My friend’s email changes all that. As God speaks to my heart through her words, a light comes into my dark day. I realize that all my prayers boil down to just one thing – that I have God’s peace amidst whatever happens.
Throughout the long car journey to the hospital my mind relaxes as I continue to pray that God will grant me peace. Sure, I still am somewhat nervous about what lays ahead, but it no longer seems as daunting. Rather than being inwardly focused about all I need to deal with – my mind, heart, and soul reach out to our loving God who is the author of peace.
I truly find rest and comfort in seeking God’s peace. I trust that God will not leave me, and that no matters what happens this day, I am sustained by His loving care. Many Scripture passages and words of spiritual songs come to mind that remind me that God knows and cares.
That peace transcends throughout the long day I need to face. My surgery is delayed, yet I am not in agony of spirit. Yes, I am ready to get it all over with, but I am not forlorn or disturbed. Waiting in the pre-op staging area, I am calm, even though I am physically alone. That’s because I know with a certainty that I am not going through all this on my own. I can feel God’s presence and comfort wash over me.
My prayers for peace continue as I face the myriad of staff in the operating room and endure all the pokes and prodding needing to be done to prep me for surgery. I fall asleep with the peace of God sustaining me.
What should have been a short time in recovery, lengthens with complications in my breathing. My day surgery turns into an overnight hospital stay. It is not the way I had hoped things would play out, and yet I am calm. God’s peace is still there, encouraging and nurturing me through each aspect of my stay.
My typical prayers would have been for the many aspects of my treatment and care that day, just as I have prayed through challenging events in the past. While at times, very specific prayers are needful, I find it quite freeing to focus on praying for only one thing this day – peace. The rest of my challenges seem to fall into place as I approach my situation with a calm that only God can provide.
In 2 Thessalonians 3, God’s Word tells us:
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” (verse 16 NIV)
This is quite the closing wish that Paul gives to God’s people. He is not suggesting that God provides peace only when circumstances are tough or situations are disconcerting. Notice that Paul indicates that God can give us peace at ALL times and in EVERY way.
As I move forward through recovery and whatever God plans for me in the future, I need to remember this Scripture verse. God can and will give me peace – whether or not the day is a good one or not. He makes it clear that He is the only true source of lasting peace. God’s peace doesn’t rely on my particular feelings or my health status of the moment. The only way His blessing of peace will not reach me is if I shut Him out.
In this tumultuous world, we need God’s sustaining peace. Open your heart and mind to what the Lord freely gives us. It is there for our EVERY need at ALL times. That is a promise that God keeps.