THOUGHT FOR TODAY: No matter the circumstance or situation, God is always present, ready and willing to He calms our anxiety and gives us a peace that is truly beyond explanation.
My husband and I were standing across the street from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. We were in Russia (September 1998) to complete the adoption of our daughter—Jocelyn Zoya—and bring her home. During that time, however, we also did some sightseeing: Red Square, Lenin’s tomb, the onion-domed cathedrals.
On this particular day, it was a trip to the Tzar’s Winter Palace. Our driver/interpreter had just dropped us off. My husband quickly crossed the deserted street (bent on a mission) to try and find the entrance to the massive palace.
I stayed put on the sidewalk, however, rooted to the concrete, unable to move. I looked around. There was no one—no one!—about, surprisingly. Scarily. Dave and I were the only ones on the street on this Sunday afternoon. How bizarre. Where is everyone? But even if there had been anyone there, would we even have been able to communicate? Neither Dave nor I knew a lick of Russian, aside from dobroe utro (good morning), spasibo (thank you), pozhaluysta (please), da (yes), nyet (no) and dasvidaniya (good-bye).
My heart start racing. I became super aware that I was thousands of miles away from our home outside of Chicago. I was quite literally near the top of the world, and our only contact in this foreign city had just driven away.
Those thoughts overwhelmed me, paralyzed me; and before I knew it, I was having a panic attack. I started to shake. I felt hot and dizzy. Disoriented. My vision blurred. I could not even call out to Dave, I was so shaken.
Then, just as suddenly, I felt a warm enfolding , as if someone was hugging me. I felt cocooned in an unexplainable comfort. I felt safe. Secure. My shaking subsided. My vision cleared. I was soon calm. I was then able to cross that deserted street—which, by that time, Dave had found the entrance (mission accomplished!)—to enjoy a lovely day touring that opulent Russian winter “home.”
I can only describe that enfolding feeling as God’s overwhelming grace and peace. At that moment—when I most needed it—He assured me, reminded me: Do not fear; I am with you. Don’t be anxious; I won’t abandon you. I am right here. Right. Here. Right. Now.
It’s during these times of emotional disorientation (anxiety, fear, stress, worry)—when we're thrown off by our circumstances and situations and feel out of control, helpless, and hopeless—that God provides comfort, His calming presence. He calms our anxious hearts by giving us not any old peace, but His peace, “which surpasses all understanding.”
This peace truly is unexplainable, beyond human reasoning. It's an unnatural peace. A supernatural peace.
And it is this peace that enables us to once again reorient ourselves in the reality of His presence, His love, in the the comfort and security of our Father, who will never leave nor forsake us. Who is always—always—with us.
Be encouraged. Be blessed.