When I was a little girl, I suffered greatly from anxiety attacks. Debilitating fear was never very far away from me. Traveling in the car was my worst nightmare. I have no idea why. I think I dealt with claustrophobia as well. I would dread a trip in the car for days. I remember a time in my life when we traveled a lot. I believe we were touring the States a little bit while my father ministered in different churches. We had a station wagon and it was long before the seat belt laws of today. In fact, many a time, I rode in the back laying down. But in this season, there was no sleeping or even resting as I climbed back there. My body was overwhelmed by anxiety. I couldn't shake it.
But I remember one key. The only key. Burying my face in the floor of the car, clutching anything so that my hand wouldn't shake so violently, I would lay. As my body trembled and my hands shook, I whispered a Name over and over and over again.
That's when Jesus became more than a Word for me. That's when he became more than a Name for my heart. He personally became the person who would rescue me. He became that anchor for my soul and that rock for my sanity. And in those moments of terrifying anxiety, as I desperately repeated his name, I would begin to feel the soft, warm blanket of peace laying over me. Slowly, my body would tremble less. Gradually, my hand would begin to stop shaking and eventually it was just Jesus and I rolling down the highway in that station wagon. It was his Name that shattered the hold of panic.
Again, when I was in the hospital with meningitis, there was a moment that I was terrified. Looking onto facebook, trying to distract myself, I clicked on one of my memories of three years prior. I had posted a song called, "Steady My Heart." It spoke deeply to me. Sitting there, in that bed, I cried - like I had cried when I first heard it. There was a line that particularly struck me. It read, "I'm not going to worry. I know that you've got me right in the palm of your hand."
You see, things in my life had not changed. Circumstances were still crazy around me and shadows loomed ahead that I did not know. But in the midst of it, Jesus was there, poised, able, willing to take me through whatever the future held. And when I could get a hold of that reality, it broke the power of fear.
Whoever you are worried about, whatever you are worried about, whatever your financial situation, your health situation, he has you in the palm of his hand. It doesn't always mean everything will turn out as you planned. It doesn't always mean everything will be victorious or even successful in our eyes. That's not reality - it wasn't in the Bible and it's not in today's world either. What it means is that if we are in God's hand, if God sees us, if He understands, then we can make it through. We can do it. We are at peace. God's peace is simply more than perfect circumstances. It carries us to the other side of treacherous seasons of life.
Look up at Him. Reach up and grasp his big knarled, nail scarred hand and put one foot in front of the other until you reach the end of this part of the journey. It will be okay with Him by your side.
Jesus said in the Bible, "My peace I leave with you. Not as the world gives..." What kind of peace does Jesus give? He gives the kind of peace that doesn't make sense from a natural point of view. The world around you can be crumbling. The situation you are facing can be too large, too strong, and too overwhelming and Jesus reaches out to you - arms open wide - with the gift of peace.
So many times we try to find our peace elsewhere when we really need to cuddle up at Jesus' feet, stare hard into his adoring eyes and never look away.. That's all Jesus was talking about when he said he gives us peace "not as the world gives."
We try to find a new hobby. We go to the beach. We leave our stressful friendships behind in search of peace. Those things are good things and often ways that God uses to bring us to that place we need to be. But let's not forget the true maker of peace; the true giver of peace. He is the one who will bathe your spirit and your mind in that peace that doesn't even make sense in our natural mind. That's how he was able to walk through His life on earth - knowing what his last day would bring. That's how he was able to take those brave steps to the cross when he knew he was going to be persecuted and killed - because He Himself is peace.
His peace is like a fire dancing in the fireplace when your bones are achy cold. His peace will carry your icy shivering heart to a warm safe place. His peace comes in the midst of your struggles, in the middle of your pain, during those debilitating circumstances and provides water in the desert.
Peace comes from knowing that you don't know - but He does.