“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
There have been multiple points in my life when I can say, “Yes, God met me in that moment and despite my circumstances, He gave me a peace that could only be described as supernatural.” But, none of them stand out in my mind more than when my youngest was a tiny 3 month old baby and underwent intensive skull surgery.
As a parent, nothing is much harder than putting your child in a tiny gown, on a tiny gurney, and putting them in the hands of strangers, albeit extremely skilled, ivy league trained strangers, but still strangers. When I think back, I can feel the fear, but more than that I can feel the overwhelming, almost crushing, peace of God that consumed me in that moment. It was a peace that could only come from God, because this fragile mommy heart would have never been able to conjure up that much peace in that moment.
After surgery, he spent several days in the ICU. I can still feel the chill of the air and hear the beeping of the machines echoing in the silence. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time in an ICU room with a loved one, you know the feelings and the sounds. Even 4 years later, it still feels like yesterday. Nothing in all the parenting books in all the stores, prepares you for the fear that invades your heart when you look down at your child in that moment. I clearly remember looking at him covered in leads, his tiny skull covered in bandages, with the drains and the ports for the inevitable blood transfusions extending from his temple, recognizing that he was in intense pain, and knowing there was nothing I could do about it.
That’s where the fear grows from in those moments- the realization that we are not in control. I pride myself on self-sufficiency and the ability to get things done. If there’s a task to master; I’m your girl. If there’s a problem that needs solving, I accept the challenge. But, in the middle of that ICU room, it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is completely out of my hands. I can’t make things all better. I can’t take away the pain. I can’t fix this with the snap of a finger. That feeling of being so out of control filled that tiny ICU room like an elephant.
I did the only thing I knew to do in moments like those, I sunk into one of the most uncomfortable hospital chairs ever created, and I prayed. Of course I prayed for the pain to be relieved and for Nathan to be healed, but more than anything I prayed to be released from the fear that gripped me. I repented of the fact that I had wrongly assumed I was in control. I begged for God’s peace so that I could function and be strong in the helplessness. And, God was so gracious. The peace that engulfed me those 5 difficult days in the hospital are indescribable. His peace TRULY surpasses understanding.
The greek word for peace in Philippians 4:7 is eirene. The root of the word is eiro which means to join or tie together into a whole. Eirene means wholeness, when all the essential parts are joined together.
In that ICU room, my fears had unravelled me. They had broken me apart and left me shattered. God’s peace puts the pieces back together. God’s peace brings wholeness.
What God did for me, He can do for you, too. God desires to bring shalom, peace, wholeness into every corner of the hearts of His children. Our end of the deal is that we have to relinquish control. And, believe me, this isn’t something that’s a one and done. I daily have to relinquish control. I may not be in the middle of an ICU room everyday, but I continually have to release my fears, large and small, to God and beg him to supply me with the “peace that surpasses understanding” and that “guards my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus”.