Good morning! Our advent devotional for today comes to us from Rachel Hopper, who serves as the Director of Housing & Residence Life at TCU. I’ve known Rachel for many years, but I’ve had the wonderful honor of getting to know her on a deeper level the past few years. If you know Rachel you are well aware of her deep inner strength, her devout faith, and her calm & steady presence in the midst of all things. So asking her to write about peace today was an easy decision. I trust that you will be as moved by her profound words for us today as I was when I first read them. I invite you to read and meditate on them now, as you live into today with an attitude of peace. Blessings on your day…
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for He is an everlasting Rock.
Peace I leave with you, and my peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
There are storms that rattle us so strongly we are soaked in the downpour and feel the tremors of the thunder for the rest of our lives. While the storm may be over, the effect of it certainly isn’t. Throughout my life, I’ve had these storms. Ones that tested my stamina ̶ my posture toward life. Whether trauma, death or sickness, I have peace that can only be explained as fixing my mind on God.
What is interesting about the storm is that no matter how badly the roof is tattered, the paint stripped off the walls or the items strung throughout the house, the strength rests in the foundation. How strong is the foundation you rest your mind and focus your eyes upon? In these moments which scream of lacking peace, we can trust in an everlasting Rock ̶ a steady foundation.
This year has felt wildly dialectical as I’ve experienced the fullness of joy and the nearness of loss. In August 2022, I was watching my son die. A kink in his intestines caused major complications and severe internal infection, which led to weeks in the hospital, two major surgeries and 35 inches of his intestines and appendix being removed. I remember the moments when we knew the severity of our son’s situation. I remember falling to my knees and asking God to open his eyes. “Please, Lord, open his eyes.” And yet, there were the moments of open hands, “Lord, You know his story. Is death part of his story?” ̶ a heart posture of Peace.
The rollercoaster of emotions that screeches you to a halt and brings you to your knees in prayer, still Peace lingers.
The stunning landscape and scrapes of color across the sky as I watched sunrises out the hospital window, yet Peace remains.
The doctors, nurses, surgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists and respiratory therapists all working seamlessly to care for my son, Peace endures.
With the community of friends, family and coworkers feeding us, encouraging us and lifting us up when we didn’t have the words or energy to do so ourselves, Peace persists.
The breathing tube being removed from my son; Peace.
The infection leaving my son’s body; Peace.
The multiple medications calming and restoring my son’s health; Peace.
Feeling my son reach his hands toward mine; Peace.
Seeing him stand up, eat, play, walk, talk and smile, an overwhelmed, immeasurable Peace.
I’m in awe of how the Son was sent so that you and I could have peace for eternity. John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you and my peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” No matter the circumstance or the storm that wrecks us, I can find hope and peace in Jesus; I need not be afraid.
Let us pray.
Lord, we are grateful for Your perfect peace. When everything around us feels unstable, we can cling to You, the stable, everlasting Rock. In a season when we celebrate your Son, help us see how hope is present and the peace that comes with Him.