PEACE BE WITH YOU

(Editor’s Note: The following devotional first was published in an Advent booklet prepared by Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. A different member contributed each day of Advent.)

By Kirk W. Hancock

Depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, shame, rejection, abandonment, self-hatred, abuse, trauma, and grief. People struggle with these problems every day. Normal people with common problems. Their wounds are deep and painful. So painful they avoid it altogether through any means possible. “Ignore it,” they say. “Shhh. I’ll keep it a secret. It’ll go away.” But it doesn’t. Jesus said, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).

KirkAndJanaHancock

Kirk and Jana Hancock

Power struggles, conflict, always being on edge, poor sleep, and difficulty trusting others. This is how unresolved pain manifests itself. It creeps into their lives and seeps out into their relationships at home and work in these ways. They wander throughout their lives wondering in confusion, “Why do I struggle so much? Life shouldn’t be this hard.” And they are right. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

Long hours of work, alcohol, pain meds, and secret sins. This is what is used to cover up their pain. Secret sin covering up secret pain. The downward spiral deepens. Work more, drink more, medicate more, whatever is needed to forget about the past and not feel the pain. Pain leading to more pain. Pain causing more pain. “If I just work harder and stay busy then I won’t have to think about it anymore.” “If I drink more it will numb the pain away.” But it doesn’t. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

Debt, inability to hold a job, health problems, divorce, and jail. These are the consequences of using unhealthy and ungodly means to avoid pain. When people find themselves in this predicament they wonder “How did this happen? Why me? How am I supposed to get out of this mess?” Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

“Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). What a wonderful gift you have in Jesus to not go through this alone! He is your counselor with whom you can share your secrets. He hears you and understands you more than you understand yourself. He is the mighty one with the power to ease your pain. His Godly love is everlasting when humans disappoint you. His forgiveness is where you find peace when you cannot forgive yourself. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

Prayer, God’s Holy Word, church community, worship, and acts of service. These are the spiritual tools given by God. You can utilize any of these tools to calm your mind, center your heart, and ease your restless spirit. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

Treatment, proper medication, counseling, and support groups. These are the tools God wisely gave people to help other people deal with their problems. God gave chemists keen minds to formulate medication treating chemical imbalances. God gave psychologists and counselors compassionate hearts so people can talk through their problems with a safe person. God gave people the spirit of fellowship within support groups to provide a community for people going through the same problem. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

Peace from the pain. Peace in a life of chaos and a world of confusion. Powerful peace to hold you in His strong and loving arms. Graceful peace to allow you to come back to Jesus for continued healing. Redemptive peace to let you learn from your experiences and mistakes. Calming peace to ease your pain. Jesus said, “Peace be with you.”

Kirk W. Hancock is a counselor working with adolescents at Oceans Behavioral Hospital.

Top photo credit: “Sunset over Rothwell Waters-3=” by Sheba_Also 43,000 photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

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