Last night, I kissed my 3 young daughters goodnight, tucked them in and left them in their warm beds. They lay there praying for the buses to be cancelled the next morning because of the impending snow storm. I smiled to myself as I made my way down to the living room where my husband and a crackling fire awaited me. I settled down on the couch and remembered being a child and knowing that the buses may not run the next day. That excitement came back to me and I fell asleep later with a wonderful peace, certain I would awake to blizzard-like weather and be able to sleep in.
At 10 to 7 in the morning, I was awoken by the sound of tiny ice pellets being driven against my window. The same excitement I'd known as a child raced through me. I hurried into the living room and turned on the local news. The anchor woman began rhyming off a multitude of cancellations. It seemed that buses everywhere were cancelled...everywhere except here. I made my way upstairs to wake my very disappointed children and get them ready for the school day we were all sure wouldn't happen. Glued to the TV for further updates, I dressed, fed, groomed and packed up my girls.
We walked out the door to a fierce wind driving icy pellets into our faces. "Mom!" my 10 year old protested, "You're not going to send us on the bus in this are you?!" I trudged ahead of them, head tucked against the wind spouting promises of things like, "The roads are fine or they would have cancelled the buses." and "Don't worry, the bus won't slide into the ditch or crash.". Tears rolled down their cheeks as we saw the bus coming down the road and their last hope of staying home died away. I kissed them and sent them off into the storm with more promises of a safe arrival back home at the end of the day.
The bus drove off with my three precious children and I was suddenly struck with an awful thought. What if I was wrong. My peace from last night was gone! I'd promised them things that were not within my power. I told them they would be okay, but what if they weren't? As I made my way back up the drive way I began to pray that God would be with them, that His angels would fill and surround their bus. It helped, but I still catch myself glancing nervously at the swirling snow outside the window and wonder if I should have just kept them at home, safe with me.
Peace is a funny thing. We tend to have a concept of how things will be. When life is working out the way you expected, we have peace. No surprises seems to give us the feeling that we are in control. But, as soon as life takes a turn we didn't expect or prepare for, our fragile, self-made peace falls apart, and sometimes, so do we.
What must it be like for God? He never has situations come up that he didn't expect or prepare for. He is ALWAYS in control. I guess the key to peace is to remember that even when we think we are in control, we aren't. But that's okay because God is. The same God who made the storm will see us through it. He doesn't promise us freedom from pain or suffering, but he does promise us HIS peace - not fragile, not even comprehensible, but perfect. Perfect like His plans for us - and for our children.
I have learned - I hope - not to make false promises that offer false peace, but to promise my children instead things like, "God has given His angels charge over you to keep you." and "Don't be afraid, the Holy Spirit is with you, so if you are scared or in trouble Pray and God will answer." These are promises I can keep to my children because they are the same promised that God make to every one of us.