I am a woman with an affinity for turbulence. When a thunderstorm comes rolling in, I pop a bag of popcorn and sit back and watch. When the plane I’m traveling on goes through a series of dark and ominous clouds, I grin, waiting eagerly for the first bump. When the ocean rages and the waves start to crash wildly on the shore, I run to meet them. I love a good thrill or plot twist. Put a predictable, slow-moving book or movie in front of me and I’ll leave to find a new adventure.
But there’s a catch. You see, I’m fine with observing exterior turbulence, but when commotion and agitation touch down in my own personal life, well, that’s a different story.
Sitting here on the eve of my twenty-sixth birthday, I crave a calmer and more predictable life — one with fewer health problems, deadlines, doctor’s appointments and unknowns and more peaceful, sure and solid moments. To put it simply, if my life could mirror that of someone who went on a permanent beach vacation, I’d be happy as a clam.
But life is not a permanent beach vacation. If anything, it’s more like a shipwreck from which we have to swim for our lives, and half the time we feel like we are navigating blind.
For the love of peanut butter cups, could someone please tell the sea to calm the heck down?
Some of us, by God’s grace, are fortunate enough to experience smooth sailing for a good number of our days. But if you’re like most people, including me, eventually the waves will pick up and something will cause your ship to wreck.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:22)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this verse and looked heavenward to ask the question, why?
“Why, Jesus? Why do we have to experience trouble? Why can’t life be sunny with a high of 75˚ every day? Why can’t you just come back today and make all of the pain go away?”
Without fail, every time He replies: Because, beloved. When you are weak, I am strong. When your world is fraught with turbulence, I am your peace. I AM YOUR CALM. This is my promise to you — what I died to give you. My child, all you need is a little faith. Trust me. I am working this altogether for your good, and one day you’ll see. One day, you’ll understand. But until then, I’m here to help you just keep swimming.
Remembering His Promise of Peace
Yes, because of Jesus, it is possible to experience peace and joy in the midst of turbulence. And this is not a cliché. It’s a promise. And I’m here to testify to its truth.
On paper, I should be sinking with the shipwreck caused by the Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos, degenerative TMJ disorder, dysautonomia, unrelenting chronic pain and its no-good friends anxiety and depression I live with. Doctors and friends say if they were me, they’d be bitter — stuck in a constant state of despair, pessimism and hopelessness. To them, I say: It’s easy to be bitter and think your life is hopeless when your eyes are fixed on the turbulence.
In my quest to take my eyes of the turbulence and calm life down, I’ve tried a lot of things: supplements, medication, exercise, nutrition, injections and countless other self-care treatments. But none have calmed my soul and kept me from drowning quite like going deeper in my relationship with Jesus.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. (John 14:27)
Beloved, peace is a promise He keeps. In times of smooth sailing and turbulent tempests, when we put our faith in Jesus and fix our eyes on Him, we can know peace is just a prayer away. We can trust Jesus to keep out hearts and minds calm as we trust in Him.
Do you crave a calmer life today? Run to Him. Pour out your heart on His holy throne and ask Him to help you trade your turbulence for trust, calm and rest in Him.
And He will be your peace.
Pray with me: Lord, thank you for your promise and gift of peace. Thank you that YOU are our PEACE — our perfect Prince of Peace who died on our behalf so that we could live in peace, because you have conquered the king of fear. You have trampled the enemy under your feet. Help us not to be afraid when trouble comes our way. Help us trust and rest in you at all times, regardless of what our feelings try to convince us to think. We joyfully receive your peace, Jesus. Selah.