Peace in the Midst of Suffering

Peace in the Midst of Suffering

Reblogged from:  Orange Community of Christ’s “Peace Blog”

by Zac Harmon-McLaughlin
Orange, California, USA
Monday, March 5, 2012

Today I experienced peace in a way that transformed me. I experienced peace in the midst of suffering, in the midst of hurting, in the midst of loss.

We, here at Orange Community of Christ, have lost someone dear to us. She was a member of our church that passed away last Sunday. She had been battling cancer for a long time. The family was amazing. They sat with their loved one till the very end. They held her hand, sang to her, talked with her, and cherished her. And when the time came when they knew it was time for her to leave them; they treated it with dignity and grace. But, above all, they treated her with peace.

Often this blog is a message of active peace; a peace that demands us to change the world; to question unjust practices and systems. However, today I want to talk about a deep, spiritual peace, which transforms all those who come in contact with it.

Today, I, along with my wife, officiated our first graveside service. I was nervous because I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted the family to understand the presence of the Holy Spirit; I wanted them to feel a sense of comfort and healing, a sense of love in the midst of this painful moment.

As we shared together, they expressed, not in words, peace. They had shared with me previously that they had come to a place of peace and knew that all was going to be ok. But, today as they sat and watched their loved one find her resting place, without saying a word, they emanated the peace of God. Shalom. They embodied what it means to struggle with Peace.
Here they are in the midst of their hurt and suffering, also knowing that peace prevails in this situation. Peace has found the one they love and is holding her tight. I understood quickly that this kind of suffering is often paired with peace. It is often held close with that still small voice of God whispering; “I love you. Its ok. Feel me.” It’s when our heart begins to soften to these words and understanding that we begin to feel that deep sense of peace. A peace that shares with us comfort, healing, compassion, love, smiles, ease, and soothes our aching soul.

Peace is transformative. It is powerful. Peace creeps into situations that are hard, difficult, and confusing and somehow settles us in a moment with understanding and comfort.

So my prayer today is, may we all be blessed with this life transforming peace that settles the fast pace of our mind. May we feel God’s shalom and embrace it fully in the midst of life’s trying times. May we engage with peace as an old friend, hugging and weeping on its shoulder. May you understand, be aware of, and feel the PEACE of God.

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