It began in August . . . fever, chills, headache, sore throat, swollen glands . . . all the signs and symptoms of the seasonal flu. But no one gets the flu in August, which was reason enough to avoid going to the doctor.
School got underway, and the symptoms continued. I tried over-the-counter stuff and looked for a “no-time-to-be-sick” pill, which the pharmacist said they don’t make. September came and went; October came and went; November came and was going, but not so well. I chalked up my illness to being an overextended caregiver.
I’m notoriously difficult to get to the doctor . . . just ask my family! But that has changed because after three visits to the ER, four rounds of antibiotics, five specialists, several secondary infections, countless tests, scans, and a small surgery; the quest toward recovery continues.
Silence Gives Life a Voice
There is something disquieting about lingering illness; while it is saturated with opportunities in disguise, it is ever so irritating to those of us who don’t slow down easily. Interestingly, I’ve come to find it’s not really the illness itself that is so irritating, though I don’t prefer to feel sick.
The great challenge for me is something else.
It’s hard for me to slow down and sit in quietness. Silence gives life a voice . . . one that we often don’t listen to in the noisy pursuit of our own dreams. Notice, I said “in the pursuit of our own dreams” . . . which may or may not be God’s will. In the rush of it all, we lack His peace which is what we long for so often.
As a caregiver, I know it is hard to find time to be still. I get that. I also know we caregivers habitually think we have no options. After a while, we forget Christ came in the fullness of His grace to show us mercy and to give us peace. His presence brings peace and His Word gives us light and life, regardless of earth’s political and physical conditions. Have you ever realized these options:
- Accepting His grace?
- Living in His mercy?
- Receiving His peace?
Three options right there. Lives that are busy and noisy miss life-changing opportunities.
Are You at Peace?
December is the busiest month of the year for most of us. May I ask, are you at peace these days? Has this been a peaceful year? With or without crisis, in good health or poor, including circumstances you didn’t plan on . . . are you at peace?
The conditions of Christ’s birth were far from ideal, but there was peace on that silent night. Luke tells us of the angelic anthem, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14 KJV, emphasis added). They didn’t say . . . glory to God and success on earth, or pleasure on earth, or perfection on earth. No, He came to bring us peace.
We live in a complex world surrounded by compromised beliefs about hope and peace; my question is, are you at peace with Christ today? Are you hoping this season will be different, that somehow peace will arrive all wrapped in ribbons of comfort?
Peace isn’t a byproduct of success or good health or a month of the year. Peace is from Christ, who entered this world which was void of peace. It starts with slowing down, allowing whatever hostilities or irritations to surface, giving them over to the Prince of Peace so He can fill us with His presence. We can then give goodness and kindness to others. And that is what the season is all about.
Let Me Hear from You
I would love to hear from you. I asked many reflective questions in this post—thoughts I’ve been contemplating while my body attempts to heal. This year, let’s look at life through the lens of opportunities and learn how to enjoy a life filled with His peace.
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Resources from Insight for Living Ministries
- 2012 New Year’s Messages by Charles R. Swindoll, CD series of 2 CDs
- Here We Kneel: Moving Forward on Our Knees, softcover prayer journal
- The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume 2: Devotional Prayers on 31 Themes by Charles R. Swindoll, hardcover book
- “Habakkuk: Wrestling, Waiting, Praying, Praising” from God’s Masterwork, Volume Four: An Invitation to Return—A Survey of Hosea–Malachi by Charles R. Swindoll, individual message on 1 CD