I have known for a long time that the Jewish word Shalom meant peace. But my studying on Jehovah-Shalom took me just a little deeper into the meaning of this word. Shalom doesn’t just mean absence of conflict, strife or cessation of war which is what I always thought of it as. The noun Shalom means “peace, completeness” and the verb shalom means to be “whole, complete, perfect and full.” I don’t know about you but that says so so much more to me than just absence of conflict. I have never thought of this as being complete, perfect, WHOLE. I have felt it before I just didn’t realize that was what I was feeling at the time.
Have you ever been in the middle of some circumstances that should be rocking your world and all you could feel was peace? I had an incident like that just last year. I really can’t go into details of the incident but I can tell you that when I received the phone call of things that were happening, I should have been angry, hurt and worried. I usually have a tendency to overthink and over worry about things anyway so circumstances that are beyond my control like that will usually send me into a tailspin of anxiety. But truly all I could feel at the moment was peace. It was so surreal to me. I knew that my personality was to take these outward circumstances and fret, worry, cry and overreact. But this particular day all I could feel was peace. I knew that God was directing my every step. Now I had spent a lot of time with the Lord over the last few months before this happened so that is all I can contribute to the peace that I was feeling.
“Friend, whenever God calls us to a task that we think is beyond us, the key is to keep our eyes on God, not our circumstances.” ~ Wendy Blight
I read this statement in the book and it is so true it bears repeating word for word. When you are going through those type of circumstances that rock your world, whether it be a diagnosis, or a job loss, or a rocky marriage or a wayward child, the only thing that will keep you sane and keep you in His perfect peace is to keep your eyes on the one who is our peace.
One of the best friends that God ever gifted me with was rocked with a diagnosis several years ago. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers just as her youngest child was in the last couple of years of high school. Her oldest child was on the brink of getting married and starting her life with the man of her dreams and her middle child was thriving in college and getting ready to start her career. Just at the time that many of us, (me included) are getting all worked up over the empty nest, she received a diagnosis that she knew would not only take her life eventually, it would rob her of memories and her mind as this disease took over her brain.
She would amaze me, however when we would spend time together and she would start telling me how blessed she was. She had such complete peace and joy on her all the time that we spent together that I know could only come because she was a Godly woman who spent her time with Jesus. I’m not sure that the knowledge of her disease didn’t rock my world more than it did hers. She still would smile and laugh and she squeezed every bit of joy that she could out of every day. And she still is, even though this disease is robbing her of deep conversations with her people, she still has a smile on her face and the people who care for her says she is still dancing and singing. I know that this deep rooted joy only comes from the years that she has spent knowing her Savior. I am sure that she had many a time that she spent in tears with Jesus over the knowledge of what was going to happen to her. But the outside world didn’t know it. Maybe her family did, I am sure her precious husband held her many times when she cried but their goal, her husband and her children’s goal became helping her find joy in every day. And Jesus held their hands as they did.
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
My friend has the peace that passes all understanding because she has held on to the only one who could give her that peace in the midst of such a diagnosis. Her peace was complete and it was whole. She still had the war going on. This horrible disease was still robbing her of her mind and her memories, her future and her past. But she had Shalom because she knows her Jehovah-Shalom.