Ephesians 2: 14-16 For he himself is our peace, who as made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, there by killing the hostility.
My father was a true man of peace. I am so incredibly blessed to have had him guide my life. I was 33 when he was in the hospital dying. I had left the hospital that night, with him in intensive care and drove home to my parent’s house to get some sleep. Struggling with my own chronic illness, full blown at the time, I was exhausted and longing for some elusive sleep. I stepped into my pajamas while exhaling all the emotions of the long day, and crawled into bed. Anticipation of being able to sleep and forget all that was happening kept me breathing. I was less than two months out from a three year separation and now a final divorce- and my precious Daddy was dying. My own two small children were suffering. They were on the verge of yet another horrific loss as the man who stepped in when their father stepped out, was on the verge of abandoning them as well, only not of his own choosing. It all seemed to be impossible- it could not be happening. Yet, it was.
As I pulled the covers up around my neck and began to talk to the Lord, He told me to go back to the hospital. It was probably around 11:30pm and He might as well have told me to go climb Mount Everest. It felt impossible. It felt cruel. I obeyed. I had learned to trust God, no matter the cost. I didn’t know He was all I needed until He was all I had- and He truly was all I had. I trusted Him.
With energy I didn’t possess, I got up, put my clothes back on and drove the distance to the hospital. I took that long, difficult walk up the hill, through the doors and back to intensive care. I knocked on the door from the waiting room to the unit and let them know I was back. But why? He was holding his own and I couldn’t even visit him. It didn’t matter. I did what I was told. I was there and I knew it was where I had to be. They were strict on limited visiting times and none of them were that late in the evening. So I climbed onto the couch in the waiting room and tried to rest. At around 2:30am the nurse came to me and said that my precious, gentle, peaceful, kind, loving father’s heart had gone into a rhythm it would not come out of and would I like to come back and be with him. Those words are forever seared into my heart. I went through the door and slowly walked into Daddy’s room. I stared at him and it was as though he was gasping for any bit of air he could possibly pull in. He was not alert. His body looked desperate. It was gut wrenching to see. Yet, it was abundantly clear to me that this was my father’s body performing out of survival instinct. Daddy was no longer in his body. He was gone. This was the cocoon and my father had escaped. I missed him. I longed for him. What I would have given for this moment to not be happening. How could it be? How in the world could this be happening? And yet, it was.
Then there was the line. On the screen. It had been jumping around, sporadic but revealing life. And now it was flat. Flat.
At that moment, I heard the voice in my spirit. It was clear. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” Yes, I know this scripture. John 14, I thought. My own mind took over to finish the scripture the Lord was bringing to mind- not as the world gives….. And then I heard this: “Stop. This is your father’s voice and he is giving you his blessing.” I knew this was the Lord speaking to me and I knew it was my own father’s voice speaking his mantle of peace over me, passing it on to me. And I received it.
After some time of paperwork and details, it was very early morning and I left to drive home and give my mother the news. I was at peace. My father was at peace. As I drove down Shipyard Boulevard, the sun was rising and shining brightly, shining over me as I drove. It was such a magnificent sunrise. And it was as though angels were singing across the endless sky. I will never forget it. I felt the joy of the Lord as He welcomed His good and faithful servant home.
My father had the peace that can only come from Christ. He remained at peace, regardless of any circumstances around him- and there were many circumstances that could have broken another man. It didn’t mean that he didn’t hurt or that he never got angry. It didn’t mean that he was complacent or lacked passion. Peace isn’t the equivalent of being numb- at all. My father simply knew that God is in this, with us. And he trusted Him.
Takeaway: There are moments in our lives that will change us forever. We can miss them if we choose to hear our own voice and not the voice of our Master. If peace is elusive, then don’t feel shame. Use it as a measuring stick to tell you that there’s something clogging the funnel from the Lord to you. Maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s unforgiveness buried deep inside, maybe He’s trying to say something and we are refusing to hear, maybe it’s shame, maybe it’s disobedience- just ask. If peace is elusive, use it as a surrender flag to ask the Lord to speak to you and reveal what is in the way. Our freedom is at stake.
Prayer: Father, I long for your peace- the peace that passes all understanding. Please keep my mind at peace, regardless of circumstances. If there is anything in the way of me receiving your gift of peace, please reveal it to me and show me how to get it out of the way. I surrender my life to you, Lord. Guide me and lead me in Your ways. I choose to trust you.