Since March 2020 the COVID-19 has ruled our lives, from working at home instead of in the office, to wearing masks everywhere we go, to few parties or group encounters, to so many changes in the school schedules. It’s been dizzying and trying. And yet, we human beings are highly adaptable. So, we have done our best to change with the times. The coronavirus has brought us time that we didn’t have before, because we no longer have long commutes. It has brought families in the same household together without respite when the children are “attending school” over zoom at home where the parents are also working. It has brought death to so many people in our country from the virus—400,000+ in the U.S alone— many of us are grieving the loss of so many loved ones.
So, are we worried, exhausted from this year, angry, frustrated? Not if we listen to Jesus and accept the peace He promised us: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” [John 14:27] We don’t have to bury our heads in the sand and deny the truth of what is out there. All we have to do is focus our lives on Jesus and He takes care of the rest. He will guide us through any troubles, any challenges, when we focus on Him.
Jesus was talking about shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. Here is a definition for Shalom from the Tecarta Bible:
“Shalom far outshines the word [peace], containing as it does ideas of calm, completion, harmony, wholeness, healing, wellness, perfection, safety, soundness, success, prosperity. When there is shalom, life is as it should be. We are as we should be. Nothing is off kilter. To taste shalom is to taste paradise. It is to touch the life God intended us to have.”
Peace is more than lack of worry. We can be whole, healed, well, safe, sound, calm and more. “To taste shalom is to taste paradise. It is to touch the life God intended for us to have.” We can be dedicated, faithful, determined to adapt to whatever comes, and still be at peace. We can live amongst all the worry and anxiety in the world and still be at peace. A promise is a promise, and God always keeps His promises.
How do we get to that state of peace? Not without God’s help! We pray for that peace and calm. We lift up all our cares and worries to God. We listen for all that He would tell us throughout our day and follow His lead. We read the Bible and see what the Lord is telling us in that reading. And we do what He says to do. I’ve used this imagery before: God is the pilot and I am the more-than-willing co-pilot of the airplane that represents my life. I am happy to give authority over my life to God, because all that He has done in my life so far—over 40 years—has brought me a far better life, particularly one free of worry and anxiety, and then there’s my purpose. For that I am eternally grateful. The peace I enjoy, the fulfillment of my life, the rich life of a retiree who works so willingly to achieve His purpose for me! Oh, there is nothing else that I seek!
I can be rattled. I cannot function as well as I would like, but at the same time I can be at peace. Two weeks before my daughter’s third surgery in six months last year, the Lord whispered that I should stop writing the book I am working on and just do research. It turns out that she was just beginning to feel bad and her surgery was scheduled for December 23rd. I don’t think I could have written a word anyway, because of my concern for her. But it turns out that one can always tolerate interruptions when reading which is much harder when one is writing and trying to maintain continuity.
So the Lord prepared me for the difficulty of caring about my daughter and the aftermath of her surgery by changing my workload before I was aware of more problems. Now, two months after that surgery, things around here have settled into normal, and I am just starting to write again. I was praying for her and her family, especially her husband who also spent a night in the hospital two weeks after her surgery. He is now under a doctor’s care. Throughout this time I could rest at peace and yet my heart was full of concern for my daughter. And yet, at peace. Thank the Lord! There is no way that I could have done that on my own.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I at peace, even in this time of great anxiety? How much do I lean on Jesus, depend on Him to bring me His peace? What would I have to give up to become more like Him?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who rest in His peace, in shalom as God intended us to live. May we live in this world, but not of this world. May we be totally His people.
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 Devotion of the Day, 2.14.21, https://tecartabible.com/46.html?volume=2019&resiid=9