As you are busily scurrying around this week buying gifts, wrapping presents, and baking cookies in preparation for Christmas, please remember one of the greatest gifts that was ever given to you. You may not have unwrapped this wonderful gift, but have instead just admired the lovely wrapping from a distance. It seems suitable for someone else, but you’re not sure that it is right for you. You surely don’t deserve a gift that looks this lovely! Being timid to accept a gift given specifically to you sounds a bit foolish, doesn’t it? After all, if you would only unwrap it and explore the contents inside, you would find it priceless; it would be one of your greatest treasures. However, it is often the most forgotten gift. So, what exactly is this gift?
It is called the gift of peace. God’s peace. This gift comes in many different shapes and sizes, but it perfectly fits each of us. In Isaiah 9:6, it says, “For unto us a child is born…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.” (my emphasis) The peace of God takes on many different shapes, because although we receive an element of peace when we accept Jesus as our Savior, there is still an abundance of peace that many Christians never claim for themselves. This lack of peace is so evident by the many discouraged, depressed, troubled, or financially driven people sitting in the pews on Sunday mornings. Why are we forgetting this beautiful gift sitting in the corner, and, in exchange, we search for a cheap imitation that will never satisfy?
If Jesus has promised to be our constant companion on our journey of life, why do we walk around discouraged and downcast? Isn’t God’s peace enough to sustain us on our journey to our eternal home in Heaven? Since Jesus has promised to give us His presence and His peace if we keep our eyes on Him, why do we attempt to take so many shortcuts in life to reach our goal rather than the longer route that includes His peaceful presence? Why are so many not choosing to walk with Jesus along the path of peace?
We are all on a journey. We all encounter the harsh aridity of the journey through our barren, desert experiences. However, even in the most desolate places, you can discover the flowers of peace which only comes from the Great Giver of every good and perfect gift. Do you realize that your desperate need for Jesus is the key to knowing Him more intimately and receiving His peace? We need to learn to thank God for our hard times as they highlight our great need for Him.
God’s peace should always be on our face, in spite of our circumstances. If we are indeed on a journey that leads to Heaven, why do we lack joy just as a non-Christian does? This doesn’t mean that we don’t shed tears when we face pain or loss, but it does mean that we don’t respond as a defeated person. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, it says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” Don’t you think it is about time that we live our lives (and notify our faces!) just as this verse describes?
As I think about God’s peace, I remember the day my husband and I were sharing a seminar at a women’s correctional facility. The inmates saw our motor home parked out in the parking lot, and when we left after the first session, they discussed among themselves that they could tell we hadn’t faced many difficult things in our lives because of the peace that was so evident on our faces. They commented that we were enjoying our gratifying life and had become very successful. It was obvious to them that we were blessed with an easy road in life. The next day, the chaplain told us what they were saying and asked us to share a bit of our journey (As told in our book, “Big Mountain, Bigger God”.) It was amazing how the “walls” crumbled, and these women began crying and lining up to talk to us about their painful journey. They saw the peace of God in us, in spite of our trials and loss. This peace is something that only God can give! If you begin unwrapping this forgotten gift, you will discover that it is exactly what you need.
~Cindy (for The Mullett Family)