“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6ESV
The day started out like any other; the alarm went off at 6AM, followed by my morning devotions, and all the self-preparation a morning requires before beginning the inevitable struggle through Denver commuter traffic. I was a little more alert than usual for a night owl caught in an early bird’s lifestyle, so I was pulling together the ingredients for a slightly more ambitious breakfast than my usual coffee and meal bar when the text message came in. It was a text message that ended up defining 2017 for me.
My husband had collapsed at work and was headed to the ER. What followed was a tense hour-and-a-half drive to the ER, a transfer to a hospital, IV fluids and blood transfusions, and test after test. We had this delusion the week would end with a discharge and prescriptions. Instead, it ended with a diagnosis and transfer to yet another hospital because my healthy, vital, young husband had leukemia.
It didn’t take us long to realize he should have died at work and nearly did in the ER; to understand he’d been dying all summer and we didn’t know. Like the cancer cells tainting his blood, the knowledge poisoned every good memory of that summer with the revelation of what had been going on, hidden and unseen beneath the surface the whole time. Like a thief, this diagnosis in those closing months of 2017, often stole our energy, our happiness, our plans, and our time.
Yet 750 years before Jesus would be born, Isaiah prophesied in this passage that Jesus, the God we follow, would be known as the “Prince of Peace.” What peace? There has been nothing but war and strife all the way up to Jesus’ birth and long after His ascension back to Heaven. My husband and I have given our lives to Him, yet my husband has cancer in the prime of his life. It’s easy to say that very little around us, and even IN us, looks like the Prince of Peace reigns.
Yet Jesus is still the Prince of Peace. In these last six month, I have watched my husband’s strength melt away. The man who could leg press 1000lbs. can now barely climb a flight of stairs. A former record-holding sprinter, now he gets tired going for a walk. I’ve watched his full beard and hair grow patchy and fall out in hours. I’ve sat through the darkness of night with him through agonizing bone pain and throwing up from chemo. We are tired and sorrowful…and yet in some way, despite our circumstances…joyful.
The joy flows from a deep well of peace. Peace knowing God has not abandoned us but is actively thwarting Satan’s intentions of evil through it to accomplish beauty in our lives. Peace knowing the hardship of this disease is peeling away the influence of our fallen world to set us free to become even more than we would be capable of otherwise. Peace knowing the absolute Truth of the promise of Jesus in Matthew 28:20, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
He is with us, and His Peace does not come because of our circumstances but in spite of them. This same Peace allowed the Apostle Paul to fiercely proclaim the gospel before Emperor Nero, the Caesar of Rome, who would bring about some of the most brutal, sadistic persecution of Christians history has ever seen. This Peace allowed the Apostle Peter to walk the road to Jerusalem, knowing he walked to his death, to proclaim the life of Jesus to the lost. This same Peace has allowed the millions of Christians throughout history to proclaim Jesus’ name in the face of certain death, social censure, and even “simple” fear of rejection.
We may not see perfect peace around us, but the Prince of Peace is with us. With YOU! He has drawn near. He has revealed His true self to you in the Bible, in the loving hearts and hands of His people, and in every “good and perfect gift”(James 1:17ESV) you experience in this life. In 2018, go into storms or fair skies, go into the great unknown of what will be, and go boldly! For Christ and His Peace go with you.
- Describe the most peaceful you’ve ever felt. Really try to dig into what that felt like.
- Have you ever felt peace in a situation that was anything but peaceful? Describe the situation and where your peace came from.
- Where do you wish you were experiencing more peace in your life?
- Challenge for the week: look up the word “peace” in the bible. Pick one passage that stands out to you and write it on a sticky note. Put it where you’ll see it every morning and spend some time focusing on it periodically throughout every day.