A Saturday dusk was the perfect setting for a stroll on the new boardwalk along the lake cove’s edge. As my husband and I walked, talked, and dreamed, we also reflected on the drama and trauma that made our picturesque boardwalk stroll possible.
Three years ago, we bought a home that ticked all the major must-haves on our list. We felt incredibly fortunate. Throughout the entire home buying process — from creating the list of essentials to signing our names on the closing documents — I could sense Spirit’s encouragement and assurance. In praying about our move, I saw a vision of peace and plenty associated with us living in this house. Because I knew very little about the area in which our new house was located, I held tightly to that gracious assurance, and as we settled in, we wasted no time in transforming the house into our home.
About six months later, a local builder began a major construction project surrounding our tiny neighborhood of six homes. Giant mature trees were ripped from their roots, and our quaint, narrow gravel road was widened to accommodate an assembly line of excavators, bulldozers, and other Transformer-looking commercial equipment. Each morning, we were awakened by trucks beeping, banging, and honking. Oversized tire treads converted our gravel road to a cratered obstacle course. Flying clouds of red clay dust chased us inside away from outdoor recreation. The sanctity of our little wooded oasis vanished, and along with it, my peace and assurance seemed to dissipate.
You may be rolling your eyes, shaking your head, and thinking, “Lucretia, what is the big deal? Destruction for the sake of construction happens all the time! How frivolous!”
That’s what I told myself too with every infraction — flat tires, trucks blocking the road, dodging construction site debris, sliding in the mud, getting stuck in the mud, mud clinging to my minivan and depositing wherever I parked. One day while at the gym, a woman confronted and harassed me about the heaps of mud that had fallen from my wheel wells into her parking lot. Did she think I was mucking up the parking lot on purpose?
Daily, I tried not to let it bother me or make me anxious. In prayer, I recalled the vision of peace and plenty that had given me a sense of assurance. I focused on gratitude. I practiced Philippians 4:6:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
But where was the promise of Philippians 4:7?
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.
Do you remember the woman in the 80’s Wendy’s commercial who shouted, “Where’s the beef?”
Well, living stuck in the mud between a promise made and a promise manifested had me pleading, Where’s the peace? I battled frustration and anger. I was outraged that I had to drive my children on a dangerous road. Many times, I was anxious and wanted to lash out at the construction workers. I was furious about the disruption going on around me. And I was exhausted from trying to keep it together.
Post construction, as my husband and I walked along the beautiful new boardwalk, I reflected on how hostile this place felt a short time ago. I felt ashamed that I had allowed the disruption around me to cause me so much stress. I felt like I had failed — as if I’d abandoned peace and surrendered to the chaos around me.
I imagine that if this situation had been a peace test, I would have scored a D minus. Fortunately, God does not evaluate us on the degree to which we are human. Though at times, I may not have felt peaceful, a life in Christ promises that peace is always there for me — always accessible and available for me to have. Peace is not a stagnant state of euphoria nor is it obligated to keep me feeling carefree, safe, and free of stress. In Christ Jesus, peace simply must keep me, hold me.
Life under construction is stressful — literally and figuratively! I believe that when we moved into our house, our omniscient God graciously gave me the vision of peace and plenty to guard my heart and mind during the muddy process. On those days when my minivan needed to be pushed out of the mud, my anxiety was more clear than the vision. But, nonetheless, the vision was there. There were times when I felt I had let go of peace, but as my husband and I walked the boardwalk that evening, I remembered the truth: God’s perfect peace had never let me go.
In our muddy situations, peace holds us when we can’t be at peace. Even when we don’t have the capacity to calm our hearts and minds because of the chaos around us, God’s promised peace holds and carries us.Leave a Comment