Authored by Michele Roys (a guest contribution)
Have you ever had one of those days where it seemed like the world was against you, and where it looked like everything that could go wrong, went wrong? It was February 29, a day that, as you know, only comes every four years. Looking at a list of things that had fallen on my schedule for that day, it seemed as though the day had been waiting—no, more like scheming—for the past four years to ensure that it would fit four days’ worth of tasks into 24 hours!
First of all, an unexpected exam was scheduled on this very afternoon, when I already had four kids to teach all day. (Why is it that exams never seem to fall on the right day?) I needed to arrange for someone to fill in for me so that I could make it downtown to take the exam. I had also been having sinus problems that week and a severe headache that day, which made moving around hard, let alone thinking! It was difficult for me to even know where to begin with my study for the exam. I needed to review ten separate modules, as we weren’t told what the exam was going to cover. (Being a perfectionist, I like to know beforehand what to expect, so that I can study specifically for it. It bothered me to think that I wasn’t going to do well.)
In the middle of it all, my mother was arriving from Brazil on a visit, landing about the time I would be sitting for my two-hour exam. She had decided to leave her cell phone home and she hadn’t replied to my emails over the past five days. The airport where she would be landing was three hours away from our house. I needed her to contact us, so that we could figure out how we could pick her up.
That same evening—if I survived the rest of the day—I was scheduled to attend a choir rehearsal at a church downtown, as our choir was going to be performing in just two days to open the International Choral Festival—a big event in Ireland! I needed to finish learning two Polish songs, as well as verses in Latin, English, and Italian, all before that evening!
I was on the verge of tears and escaped to my room for a moment to gather my thoughts. My husband came in and saw my state. He offered to pray for me, and I, of course, didn’t turn him down. As I listened to his prayer, he said something that caught my attention: “Lord, help her to find peace and know that You will work it all out for good.”1
Peace … How can I find peace? I wondered to myself. I knew I couldn’t find that peace myself and that I needed to pray to give all that was on my heart and mind to God. I began my prayer by stating how frustrated I felt, how the aches and the pains were getting to me, how the unknown of that day was really a bother. I spelled out every aspect of that day that I could in that prayer. I went to great lengths to explain to God how I needed peace and surcease. I asked Him to give me some sign that He would help me, as at that moment I didn’t know how I was even going to drive all the way downtown in the state I was in.
A little tune from a Bible passage put to song suddenly popped into my head: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”2
I wondered how that was going to help me work out my day, but I decided to ask Jesus to give me that “peace” that He promised, even though at the moment I still felt frustrated and uncertain.
I didn’t have a lot of time to sit and meditate on just how that peace was going to come to me, but it couldn’t have taken more than five minutes for me to make the connection, and when I did, it was like a clear and clean path had been made for me through a mucky and muddy road.
“Yes,” I said aloud, to make sure I was making some sense. “If Jesus said He was going to ‘leave us peace,’ it must have been the spirit of peace, which is also a fruit of the Spirit.”
As I started to think more about that, an amazing thing happened. All of a sudden, I was no longer frustrated about all that was previously going on in my mind. I don’t know how to explain it, except to say that I just felt “lighter.” The peace that I was contemplating just took over my mind and spirit, and the feeling was alleviating, almost like “walking on air.” The pressure that had been causing so much strain diminished and I felt calm. My mind was clear. I don’t know how it happened. All I had done was pray and take a few minutes to think about the song that popped into my mind, and that simple act took me to a whole new thought process.
I was amazed at the power of God as I started getting ready to head out the door. Once in the car, I prayed that God would help that feeling to stay with me, because it felt so good! I remember thinking, “I am not panicking anymore. I am not on the verge of tears anymore. This is so cool!”
And here is how the rest of the day played out, which once again reminded me how God does not let us down. If He has promised in His Word to make something right, and we claim that promise, He will deliver!
I got downtown and was able to find parking space easily. Even though it was a gloomy day, it wasn’t raining, which is great for Ireland! I made it to the building where I was to take my exam about 20 minutes early, and had the opportunity to talk with my teacher. I explained about my headache and that I was hoping I would pass my exam. She kindly suggested that I only review the first three modules as well as some slides, instead of the notes. This cut in half the amount of information I had to try to remember.
I was happy to find out, as the exam started, that I knew most of the answers. I finished the exam, and on my way home, my mom called to say she had arrived safely and was able to catch a bus from the airport to our town, where she was picked up and dropped off at our house by a friend.
A text came in from a friend who said I could hitch a ride with her to our rehearsal downtown. Another piece of good news! The rehearsal went well, and for those three hours my head was only hurting rather than throbbing, which made it easier to contend with.
It was nearly midnight by the time I got back home and headed for bed. My husband had waited up for me, and I thanked him for praying for me. I also thanked God for helping me to find His peace that amazingly made my chaotic day turn out all right—and everything was all right! Jesus had worked it out.
The next day, I read up on the fruits of the Spirit. I wanted to know the definition the Bible gave to the word “peace.” The Old Testament meaning of peace was “completeness, soundness, and the well-being of the total person.” In the New Testament, peace often refers to “inner tranquility, a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul.”3
I was amazed when I realized that was exactly how I had felt the previous day! Peace is really just faith, trusting that God will work everything out—somehow.
If you find yourself having “one of those days”—and hopefully it won’t come more often than every leap year or so—just pray and ask God to give you His peace, and then let Him take control. You will be amazed at the solutions He will bring and the peace He will give you. The Bible says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”4
It worked for me, and it can work for you too!
1 Romans 8:28.
2 John 14:27 TNIV.
3 Living Up in a Down World: Living Life Grace “Fully,” by Bob Edwards, pg 21.
4 Philippians 4:7 NLT.
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by Simon W. Copyright © 2012 by The Family International