A Big Surprise
The midwives on the midnight shift in the maternity wing each paid a visit to my room to encourage me. I didn’t sleep that night, but not necessarily because I was up caring for my newborn son. I was awake replaying in my mind the shocking circumstances of his birth.
My fourth child was born ten days early, at our apartment, and into my husband’s disabled arms. In the span of about five minutes, I had some pain, called my doctor (who advised us to meet her at the hospital), hung up the phone, told my husband we had to go, and the baby was born. Health-wise, both the baby and I are completely healthy. But the event left its mark on my mind for months as I continued to have flashbacks.
God reminded me that even death can’t keep him from loving me perfectly.
Neither Life Nor Death
When I realized that the baby was a moment away from being born my mind began to spin out of control. “It’s not time yet. Something must be wrong. Who will help me?” An overwhelming fear of death engulfed me, and I thought that my baby and/or I were about to die. My husband stood by asking what he could do to help me, and all I could say was, “Just pray!”
And then, like lightning breaking through the storming darkness, I heard a song that played on my iPod earlier that day. The hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” was playing in my mind and I remembered a phrase from Romans 8:38-39: “neither death nor life.” In an act of war against all the horrors of sin and its consequences, God sent his Son to redeem lost sinners out of the grip of death by shedding his own blood on the cross. “For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even death submits to Jesus, and one day Jesus is going to throw death into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).
By the grace of God, my panic was replaced with a peace that surpassed understanding as I considered his Word. In that dire moment, I needed to be kept in God’s perfect peace and not wade around in some shallow, fake peace—the kind built on trite consolations like “just look at the bright side.” Jesus didn’t say, “Take heart and think of others who have it worse than you.” He told us to think of him: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
God reminded me that even death can’t keep him from loving me perfectly. Because of Jesus’s victory at the cross, all things—including death and life—are his servants and do his bidding. That’s the foundation for perfect peace. We cling to God’s promise in Isaiah 26:3:
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Then there is the massive implication in the next verse:
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:4)
God’s peace is perfect in quality and eternal in duration. There’s no better peace you could enjoy.
The Predictable Monotony of Daily Life
Odds are you will not likely find yourself in a surprise childbirth scene such as the one I just described. But you will likely find yourself in the predictably monotonous daily grind of life, tempted to trust in yourself and create your own peace. You may routinely evaluate your circumstances and doubt God’s love for you and wonder if he cares. The intervention you are looking for in your temporary earthly circumstances may not come.
But there is one great, permanent intervention through which you are given the gift of an eternity to delight in God’s love. We may “Trust in the LORD forever” (Isaiah 26:4) because Jesus trusted his Father and went to the cross in our place. The cross is precious and central because it gives us God.
On this side of heaven, we labor in God’s Word to stay our mind on Jesus so that our minds can be renewed by his truth. Jesus said,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
The world keeps us in fearful suspense; Jesus keeps us in perfect peace. Redeeming love has purchased for us this blessed assurance: that Christ has regarded our helpless estate and has shed his own blood for our soul.