This is my second blog post for the Write 31 Days challenge.
Philippians 4: 6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The moment in which I felt God’s love pour out upon me, as I surveyed the beauty of His creation, was followed by a mighty pursuit of my heart by a relentless Heavenly Father. A mere three months later, I was at my mother’s bedside, watching the cancer consume and break her body. More than a year later, I sat down to recall this part of my journey into faith:
As the days passed, the more life, vibrancy and energy was drawn out of Mom, the more she was bathed, blanketed, softly cushioned by pillows of grace, of peace. And what hits me hard in looking back is how this stood in stark contrast to my inner turmoil and my outer struggle – the more she surrendered to her Lord and Saviour, the more I fought, fought to keep my head above water by doing, doing, doing. Every opportunity afforded me, I took – I bathed her, fed her, massaged her wearying legs, gathered and hung loads of laundry, swept, wiped, vacuumed, cleaned. Anything to stop the inevitable, the life being sucked, the body failing, the limbs locked, the skin sandpaper thin, the speech taken, the swallowing mechanism retreating, the mother’s body that was meant to hold, to comfort, love, fading before my very eyes. But what my eyes saw, my heart failed to accept.
This peace that covered her, also poured out upon me. I physically felt its presence and it stood in such stark contrast to the lack of peace I felt myself. It baffled me. Here was my mother, whose heart was visibly aching at leaving her loved ones behind, the pain speaking through her eyes, and yet into the depths of this aching soul, peace poured and overflowed. My mind could not comprehend this physical Presence and it sowed a seed of faith within me, as my true yearning began for this Peace that passes all understanding.
Isaiah 54: 10
“Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 26: 3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
It would take time for this seed to grow and the fear that had captured my heart to slowly be broken open, but in these final few weeks of my mother’s life, God spoke hope into my soul in the midst of deep heartache and despair. Later, I would look back upon these precious, yet heartbreaking weeks, and see how my mother’s decision to surrender all to her Heavenly Father, to face the fears and excruciating heartache of leaving behind those she held so dear and place it into the hands of her Lord and Saviour, ushered in the gift of God’s amazing and perfect peace.
As Bonnie Gray put it in Finding Spiritual Whitespace (p.76) and I would later discover myself, further into my journey: “Perfect peace from God isn’t found by forgetting. Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and sorrow, and experience our fears fully with Jesus.”
For me, witnessing this blanket of peace upon my mother, birthed my intellectual quest to discover this Peace for myself. This quest would begin in earnest upon my return to my country of residence, on the other side of the world, after our family said its final earthly goodbyes to a beautiful wife, mother and grandmother.