The Gift of Peace
The winter of 1975 was anything but peaceful for me. While studying at Northwest College thousands of miles from family and friends, I faced multiple trials that rocked my world. I experienced challenges at school, my job seemed uncertain and several family members at home were hospitalized with serious conditions. I had to make some tough decisions on my own and was unable to help those I loved who were so far away. Leaving for our Senior Class Retreat to the mountains was a welcomed relief. However, the snow and icy conditions at the camp set me up for a whopping back flip and a cracked elbow. Surgery was scheduled but until then, my arm was in a cast and I was facing finals with sleepless nights in writhing pain. On my way to class, carrying my books in my good arm, a storm raged with winds strong enough to blow my umbrella inside out. Standing in the pouring rain with no cover, my books on the ground, I cried out to God in frustration, “Where are you?” As I stood in silence waiting for an answer I desperately needed, I heard the most beautiful sounds of a bird singing while safely nestled on a pine tree branch nearby. She was obviously unaffected by the storm around her. Then I heard God speak to my heart so clearly it was almost audible…
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT
God knew I could not create my own peace or conjure it up. It was a gift. Much like the gift of Salvation and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to beg for it, we can’t pay for it and there is nothing we can do to earn it. The gift of peace must be received by faith, accepting it from the heart of God our Father who is the giver of all good things.
Just like that bird, we can know that God is watching over us to see us through each storm we encounter. God heard my cry that stormy winter day and miraculously healed my cracked elbow as a result of prayer in our student chapel. My family members were eventually released from the hospitals back home just in time for Christmas. The other areas that were a concern to me were resolved over time with God directing my steps. As I allowed the peace of God to blanket my fears, I found courage to trust Him for every need.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
May the peace of God guard your heart, providing both hope and joy throughout your celebration of Christ this season.
About Ruth Puleo :
Ruth Puleo is an ordained minister, conference speaker, writer, mentor, and serves as the Women of Purpose Director for the Penn-Del District of the Assemblies of God. She passionately seeks to impact the lives of women and girls with courage and inspiration to follow God’s call on their lives. Ruth and her husband, John were called to pastoral ministry for 38 years while raising their three children. The ultimate blessing has been the gift of eight precious grandchildren.