Peace Beyond Understanding

Posted: December 6, 2019 in Meditations
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Photo by James Wheeler on

When somebody has life by the tail, it’s pretty hard to tell that individual how to live their life. Why should they listen to you, to me? What do you have to offer that they don’t already have? There is an old saying, “You don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” I love to read history. Over and over again, history spins tales of fortunes lost, loves lost, lives destroyed and tragically ended – all within the span of days. Life’s trappings create an illusion of well-being. Life is good until it isn’t.

In 2005, I fell 26 feet off a two story roof gable. The fact that I survived is a miracle in itself, I landed on the back of my head and shoulders, my life forever changed. The darkest hour lasted seven years, years filled with prescription drugs, unrelenting headaches, unpredictable drifts into paranoia, and yes, psychotic breaks. When my life reduced to the size of a quarter my prayer was, “Lord, make my life a little bigger than it was yesterday.” My keen mind could no longer memorize a simple phrase. Retention was a futile exercise, sand slipping through fingers, a dream fading to mist. And yet God was there. In spite of the chaotic tumble of my brain, I knew God was there. And that simple conviction was enough to live each day for what it was.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3  I often wondered what went through people’s minds when the end was near. Was it dread? Was it anger? How do you know until you sense the shadow of death? The body instinctively speaks to us when we cross that line. I’ve been there. After seven years I was the wind up watch that had run its cycle. I was done. Barring a miracle, my time on earth was near an end. At that realization, peace swept my heart. I knew I belonged to God. No matter what happened, I was good with that. My Aunt Norma lost her battle with cancer at 64. My father asked his sister in that last month, “Norma, do you feel short changed?” She never hesitated, “Heavens no. I’m 64 years old!” Norma knew, I know, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our heart and our mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 We are his and he is mine.

How will you face adversity when your life gets turned upside down? Where is your identity? Only you can answer that question. Only you and God know that answer. Life happens, it happens to all of us. David proclaimed, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4  Do you know that peace? You can. I am the living proof. So be bold, trust without borders in the Living God. In the end, Christ is all that matters.




  1. Gayle Paulsen says:

    Phil, I’m moved, challenged and enlightened by these essays. Thanks!

  2. Durkwa says:

    Really meaningful post. We always expect the best experience but when suddenly hit with the worst experience and sometimes put with a brush with death do we really know what our lives really stood for!

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