I’ve spent a good chunk of my 30 years on this earth on the hunt for peace. I’ve spent the duration of heart-to-hearts waiting for the feeling of an inner harmony to give me the green light to share a much-needed, “Me too, girl.” I’ve wasted away the sweetness of new relationships by looking for some sort of divine confirmation that this love was right.
I’ve gone through stages of seeking peace as a seal of approval for each and every step I take. There’ve even been seasons of my life where I’ve bought into the paralyzing lie that we all fall prey to sometimes.
If I didn’t feel peace about a decision or calling, I assumed that the decision or calling wasn’t from God.
And so, I stayed put.
Often, “staying put” means safely living life inside the lines – never venturing out to explore the beauty of uncertainty or to taste what living out a passion looks like.
We say things like, “I just don’t feel peace about it,” and all of the sudden we end a relationship before it ever started, stay put in a job we know isn’t for us or forego an opportunity we’ve been serendipitously pulled to.
But the truth about the feeling of peace is both simple and harsh: When my will for the feeling of peace in my life gets in the way of God’s will for holiness in my life, I am walking in disobedience.
And in these moments, all I can be is thankful for Jesus’ obedience.
Why? Because if I’m honest, I don’t really think Jesus “felt peace” when He considered dying on the cross for our sins. I don’t think He had this overwhelming sense of confirming “okayness” that, as a generation, we’ve grown to expect any time we face change or make a big decision.
Let’s be really, really clear about what’s going on in Luke 22.
And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. –Luke 22:41-44
The night before He knew the whole “death on a cross” thing was about to go down, Jesus got honest and stressed out before God in the garden. Without an ounce of false pretense or any hint of trying to keep it cool, He said, “Dad, if there’s any other way for this plan to shake out that maybe doesn’t involve my crucifixion, can we take that route instead? I mean, if not, it’s cool, I’ll do it your way. I just had to ask.”
Scripture tells us not that Jesus was a picture of peace the night before the crucifixion – but that He was a mess. It says He was in agony. The Greek word “agōnia“ means “severe mental strain” or a “struggle for victory.” It literally means the exact opposite of peace. Jesus was in so much anguish that He actually SWEAT BLOOD. (Did you catch that part?!)
All of the sudden, that big chunk of 30 years I was talking about earlier makes a heck of a lot more sense. How? My never-ending fight for peace was a strain in every sense of word. It was a struggle for a victory that’s already been sealed for eternity in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our fight for feeling peace strains us as we struggle for a victory that’s already rightfully ours.
Because Jesus didn’t seem to feel peace in the garden. Not in the slightest bit.
Yet, when God asked Him again to move forward to the cross, He wiped His bloody brow and walked straight to Calvary.
Praise God for Jesus’ obedience in spite of the agony. Praise God that because of Jesus’ humble obedience, we have peace in the most lasting way possible.
We have an unshakeable, immovable peace in Jesus Christ. He, Himself, is our peace.
The truth? Feeling peace doesn’t always equate to affirmation of a calling… and the lack of it doesn’t equate to a, “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.”
Sometimes, callings are hard, uncomfortable and everything but peaceful. Sometimes, the absence of this feeling of peace is exactly what God uses to invite us into a deeper intimacy with theperson of peace: Jesus.