Archives For peace

In a waiting room

Tim Jackson —  June 1, 2011 — 4 Comments

I hate to wait.

Invariably I’m the guy who gets stuck in what I thought was the shortest check out line at the supermarket and then watched as the cashier needs to change the tape in the register, or the 2 items the person in front of me needs “a price check on isle 4!” After what seems like an eternity, I finally get checked out.

Now that’s irritating.

But last week I was sitting in yet another “waiting” room.

I was awaiting the outcome of another serious surgery for my wife. This was her third. A tumor in her abdomen 8 years ago. A thyroid cancer scare just 2 years ago. And now a surgery to reattach all 3 of her hamstring muscles on her right leg that she tore in a fall.

At the same time, I was texting back and forth with my brother on the East Coast regarding my mom’s deteriorating condition after being recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and getting the news what she only had a few weeks to live.

I’m waiting for the outcome of two very serious situations to the two most important women in my life. And yet, while I hate waiting, I had a strange peace. Not strange in a weird way, but in a good way.

I felt hopeful for both situations.

Hopeful that my wife’s surgery would go well, that she (after much physical therapy) will be able to again take long walks on the beach or hikes in the woods that we love and have many plans for.

And, yes, hopeful for my mother whose 81-year journey in this world is coming to an end and celebrating her escorted entrance into the presence of Jesus who she told me last week was the first person she wants to see in heaven.

This morning, the text that God reminded me of was Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 when he spoke about enduring hardships which is what the last several weeks has felt like:

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

That’s it! The internal peace that has and is sustaining our hearts is because our hope is set on the One who raises the dead! It’s impossible for us to endure on our own. But our hope in Christ empowers us to endure.

The other amazing this is that much of this is because of the incredible support of the prayers of friends and family, coworkers, neighbors, and many whose faces we will never see in this life who have lifted us up during this time.

As much as I hate waiting, I’m grateful that it’s “in the waiting room” that I’ve witnessed first hand a gracious peace that defies description (Phil. 4:7) “in answer to the prayers of many,” and for which I’m eternally grateful.

 

 

This morning I was reading 2 Corinthians 1:

 

Christmas “Magic”

Jeff Olson —  December 23, 2010 — 1 Comment

My neighbor across the street stopped by the other day to ask how my nephew with Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy was doing. Last week my nephew faced a life threatening situation because the muscles in his throat that allow him to swallow food stopped working. I told my neighbor that he pulled through a surgery (to put in a feeding tube) that the doctors gave him little chance of surviving. Although he’ll never be out of the woods with his disease, all things considering, he is doing remarkably well.

Immediately, my neighbor (whose long white beard qualifies him as a look-a-like for Santa Claus) chuckled with a huge grin on his face, “See, I guess there is Christmas magic after all!”

My neighbor made a great point. We thought we were saying goodbye to my nephew when they took him  into surgery last week. But our family got a taste of  the miraculous.

Of course, this miracle stems from the ultimate miracle of  Immanuel–that God is indeed with us.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, may you more fully come to know and experience the life-changing truth of Immanuel!

Charlie Brown

Allison Stevens —  December 20, 2010 — 2 Comments

It’s tradition for us to watch Charlie Brown on television at Christmas time.  We own the DVD, but there is something more fun about catching it on TV instead.

Oh, Charlie, I can so relate to your frustration with the commercialism that we’ve attached to Christmas. Finding the perfect Christmas tree, the perfect decorations, the perfect gifts, the perfect Christmas play. Just writing about it exhausts me.

And then enters Linus.  He saves the day by reminding Charlie and me what this time of year is all about. It’s about a savior. God, coming to earth as a baby, to save us. He brings us peace and goodness. This is the miracle of Christmas.

I’m so glad that we have a reason to see past the materialism and commercialism; all that fades away when I look at Jesus, our Savior, Emmanuel.  In Him we find love, joy, and peace.

Luke 2:11-14:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Batteries and Jesus

Jeff Olson —  April 23, 2010 — 3 Comments

A few days ago I helped my daughter purchase her first car…an older used Toyota Camry. Everything was going well until I got the call that her car wouldn’t start. The battery was dead and it needed a jump.

After driving to where she worked and jump starting the car, I took the battery in to get checked. The battery was fine so I tried to reinstall it. That was a big mistake. Little did I know that hooking the battery back up would set off the most loud and obnoxious sounding car alarm (which I didn’t even know was installed on the car). I frantically pushed buttons and turned the key to make it stop, but I couldn’t.

Not a good way to score brownie points with your neighbors at 10pm.

After a couple of minutes of ear piercing sirens and horns, I disconnected the battery. Silence. Peace. Thank you Lord!

Calmly (I wish), I contacted the man who I bought the car from and asked him if he knew how to shut off the alarm. He didn’t. But he did think to check the internet to see if anyone else had a similar problem. Lo and behold, they did. He kindly sent me the link and I found a solution to hook up the battery and start the car without waking up the neighborhood.

At one point during all the commotion, I remember thinking how utterly lost I felt. I didn’t have a clue what to do. It never occurred to me to go search the Internet for a solution.

The experience reminds of how at a loss I sometimes feel as a counselor. There are many moments I am deeply aware that I do not have all the answers for the pain and commotion that is tearing a person’s life apart. But I know that I can eventually point them to Jesus because He does. Only He can bring them true peace and life in whatever situation they find themselves in.

Mistletoe

Allison Stevens —  December 10, 2009 — 2 Comments

mistletoeMy daughter and her friend are upstairs baking Christmas cookies. Special treats during the holidays are a tradition for us and we look forward to the delicious taste of buttery, sugary delights.

This caused me to wonder about other Christmas traditions. Mistletoe, for instance. Standing under the mistletoe can get you a kiss on the lips or a peck on the cheek. This tradition can be either sweet and romantic with the one you love, or an awkward moment when you deeply regret choosing that particular area to stand. I read a little about the history of mistletoe and I found it a bit more interesting than our modern interpretation of its use.

Apparently, beginning with the Druids and then to the Celtics and Romans, people thought mistletoe had special properties from healing powers, to keeping evil spirits away. This rootless green plant became a symbol of peace. In Rome, if enemies stood under the mistletoe, they would lay down their weapons and embrace. 

What a good time, Christmas, for us to put aside our petty arguments and seek peace with one another. Our disagreements pale in comparison to the love that God has for us. Our differences of opinion mean nothing next to Jesus. Let’s all pretend that the world is standing under huge mistletoe . . . let’s lay down our weapons and embrace!

Jesus brings us together in unity and peace. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14.)

Who are you?

Jeff Olson —  August 3, 2009 — 8 Comments

PassportCertain songs tend to stay with and get me to thinking. Lately, I’ve been struck by the following lyrics from an older song,

“Who are you? Who, who…who, who?

The words strike me as more than a line from a catchy tune by the British band The Who. The lyrics actually raise a core question-do we know who we really are?

It’s an important question. And answering it is not as simple as rattling off the basic information found on our passport—name, address, etc. There’s a lot more to us.

For instance, the opening pages of the Bible tell us that we bear the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). The Bible also tells us that “we are God’s offspring” (Acts 17:28). In other words, who we are is wrapped up in being one of God’s kids. And those of His offspring, who have found forgiveness and restoration through Jesus Christ, can learn to walk in the peace and the joy and the purpose of a new life in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Reading what the Bible says about us is truly good news. And I wish it were that simple. The problem is there are other destructive messages that come to us in various ways that compete with some of the things we read about ourselves in the pages of Scripture. As we’ve gone through life in a broken world, we’ve all heard lies that cause us to doubt who we really are; false messages that say we’re nothing or unwanted; half-truths that seduce us into believing there is something deeply flawed and unredeemable in us.

So…who are you? What are the messages you’ve heard? A lot is riding on the answers we end up with. If we don’t know what God really thinks of us, we will continue to live far less than who He intended us to be.