Perfect Peace

Recently, I woke up and felt as if a dark gloomy cloud was draped over my day. Despite sunbeams streaming through my bedroom windows, I could not shake the cast of shadows that lingered from the day before...

The previous day, I had a post-hospital stay follow-up with my primary care doctor. My care goal was to discuss the best ways to manage my overall health issues and make sure my infection was gone. Before this appointment, I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to go before me and to give guidance. That morning as I walked into her exam room, I felt peaceful and there was no gloom present. 

However, as the appointment progressed and we addressed issues with no readily available solutions, things started to feel complex and scary. Monday afternoon the gloom increased and my burdens felt heavy, as I nursed my "woe, is me" thoughts, such as “How am I going to survive this pain?”.

Only hours earlier, after my prayers, I had been at peace, joyfully wearing our Heavenly Father's yoke, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 (NKJV). But sadly, I had let my focus shift inwards to how am “I" going to deal with my future health issues and their impact on the quality of my life; instead of trusting God’s plan for my future. 

I am always amazed at how quickly I can go from complete unwavering trust to having "a Peter moment." "...suddenly Peter became afraid. He started to sink and cried out, “Lord, I’m going down! Please save me!” Jesus reached out, grabbed Peter’s outstretched hand and pulled him back up. He said, “Why did you lose faith and begin to doubt? You need to keep your eyes on me.” Matthew 14:31 The Clear Word

God has worked many miracles in my life, not only health-wise; but in all aspects of my life. In my heart I know I serve a faithful God who owns the cattle on 1000 hills; One who will provide and comfort me through all my health needs, but, like Peter, my faith wavered. 

Which brings us back to my gloomy Tuesday morning wake-up call. As I started my devotional time with God, I understood I was in spiritual battle. I knew I needed to spend as long as it took, in communion with God, in order to receive His peace again. However, as I read my Bible and prayed everything felt mechanical on my side. Nothing I did seemed to penetrate the darkness I felt. I even listened to my favorite YouTube Sabbath sing-along videos (which I always find to be so uplifting), but the cloud remained. 

Then, I felt impressed to reach out and check on a friend who was ill. After checking on her, another friend of mine and I had a meal delivered to our friend. As I shifted from self into service, I felt God’s promises come to fruition in my life - "He that watereth shall be watered also himself." Proverbs 11:25 (NKJV).  

After I pressed submit on the lunch order and looked up from my computer, instantaneously the darkness and gloom were gone! The battle had been won! The sun literally shined brighter through my bedroom window and peace flooded my soul! My eyes were back on Jesus, the author, and finisher of my faith! In Steps to Christ (page 80) Ellen White beautifully notes how - "The spirit of unselfish labor for others gives depth, stability, and Christlike loveliness to the character, and brings peace and happiness to its possessor." While I know that acts of service may not always result in instant peace for me, what I am assured of is that they will bring peace and happiness to my life!  May we, in all seasons of our lives, experience the blessings that come from serving others through Him. - Sharon Patterson

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