I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
JOHN 14:27 (NLT)
As strange as it may sound, I was at peace when I was wheeled into the operating room for the amputation of my left arm. During the previous months, my arm had become more than a nuisance to me. Three surgeries had removed much of my upper arm. I was fighting a staph infection that had left three open, draining holes in my upper arm. It hurt and I could hardly use it. With all the physical complications, I was at peace with becoming an amputee.
I wasn’t fooling myself by thinking this was going to be a breeze – not at all. I knew that when the arm was completely gone I would have a whole new set of problems. But at the same time, I had deep-rooted peace because I knew that God was in control. I also knew He would give me the strength to get through whatever lay ahead. I was ready to move forward with my life.
BUT … Despite the fact that I was at peace with God and I was at peace with losing my arm, I was not prepared for what I was about to face. It was one thing to face the physical challenges – I knew it would be hard but I was certain I could handle that. But I had no idea of the emotional impact of being an amputee – no longer being a “whole” person – would have on me.
In some respects, the peace I had was shattered. It was as if someone had taken a beautiful piece of pottery and smashed it into pieces. The amputation shattered the peace of who I was. I had to look myself in the mirror and face myself. It wasn’t a pretty picture – I didn’t like what I saw. The amputation forced me to search and struggle to find out who I truly was.
But as I struggled, God took me – like a broken pot – and started putting the pieces back together. He redefined me – showing my heart who I was in His eyes – not who I was in my eyes or the eyes of others. As a result, I began to experience an even deeper peace than I had known before.
That peace did not come without frustration. It did not come without pain – emotional and physical. In fact it came as a result of brokenness. It came through the Refiner’s Fire.
When the heat is on – when we’re feeling the pressure of suffering – we have a choice to seek God or to fight Him. I did some of both. I did my share of whining and complaining. I clawed and scratched my way through it but I eventually faced the “big question.” It wasn’t about whether or not I was a baseball player. It wasn’t even about the uncertainty of what lay ahead on my life’s journey. The question was between God and me. It was about whether or not I would trust God in the midst of the uncertainty of life.
I walked out of that experience saying “Yes! God can be trusted. I can trust God for the strength to live life regardless of what it throws my way. Not only that, I can even trust Him for the ability to experience joy along the way!”
Discovering that I can truly trust God has given me a great sense of peace. That peace is not dependent on anything that happens in this life – not even on whether I survive. That peace rests in God and the promise He has made that I will spend eternity in heaven with Him. The real peace that is in Dave Dravecky is the hope of heaven, a hope made possibly by what Jesus endured on the cross for my sake. And nothing – nor anyone can ever take that hope away from me.
If we are called upon to suffer,
we may be perfectly sure that we shall be rewarded
for every pain and blessed for every tear.
Underneath will be the Everlasting Arms and
within will be the deep assurance that all is well with our souls.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God –
not death, nor life, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature.
On the journey with you,