Have you ever had one of those days where it seemed like the world was against you, and where it looked like everything that could go wrong, went wrong? It was February 29, a day that only comes every four years. Looking at a list of things that had fallen on my schedule for that day, it seemed as though the day had been scheming for the past four years to ensure that it would fit four days’ worth of tasks into 24 hours!
First, an exam was unexpectedly rescheduled for the afternoon, when I had the kids to myself, and I had to arrange for someone to care for them so that I could make it downtown to take the exam. I had also been having sinus problems that week and a severe headache that day, which made moving around hard, let alone thinking! I needed to review ten separate modules, as we weren’t told what the exam was going to cover.
In the middle of it all, my mother was arriving from Brazil on a visit, landing about the time I would be sitting for my two-hour exam. She’d left her cell phone at home and hadn’t replied to my increasingly frantic emails over the past five days. The airport where she would be landing was three hours away from our house. I needed her to contact us, so that we could figure out how we could pick her up.
That same evening—if I survived the rest of the day—I was scheduled to attend a choir rehearsal at a church downtown, as our choir was going to be performing in just two days to open the International Choral Festival—a big event in Ireland! I needed to finish learning two Polish songs, as well as verses in Latin, English, and Italian, all before that evening!
I was on the verge of tears and escaped to my room for a moment to gather my thoughts. My husband came in and saw my state. He offered to pray for me, and I, of course, didn’t turn him down. As I listened to his prayer, he said something that caught my attention: “Help her to find peace and know that You will work it all out for good.”1
How can I find peace? I wondered. I knew that I couldn’t find that peace myself and that I needed to pray to give all that was on my heart and mind to God. I began my prayer by stating how frustrated I felt, how the aches and pains were getting to me, how scared I was of the day’s unknowns. I spelled out every possible aspect of that day in that prayer, expressing in detail to God how I needed peace and surcease from the day’s stress. I asked Him to give me some sign that He would help me, as at that moment I didn’t know how I was even going to be able to drive all the way downtown in the state I was in.
A Bible passage suddenly popped into my head: “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.”2
I wondered how that was going to help me work out my day, but I decided to ask Jesus to give me that “peace” that He promised, even though at the moment I still felt frustrated and uncertain.
As I started to think more about that, an amazing thing happened. All of a sudden, I was no longer frustrated about all that was previously going on in my mind. I don’t know how to explain it, except to say that I just felt “lighter.” The peace that I was contemplating just took over my mind and spirit, and the feeling was alleviating, almost like walking on air. The pressure that had been causing so much strain diminished and I felt calm. My mind was clear. All I had done was pray and take a few minutes to think about the verse that popped into my mind, and that simple act took me to a whole new thought process.
I was amazed at the power of God, as I started getting ready to head out the door. Once in the car, I prayed that God would help that feeling to stay with me, because it felt so good! I remember thinking, I’m not panicking anymore. I’m not on the verge of tears anymore. This is so great!
And here is how the rest of the day played out, which once again reminded me that God doesn’t let us down:
I got downtown and was able to find a parking space easily. Even though it was a gloomy day, it wasn’t raining, which is great for Ireland! I made it to the building where I was to take my exam about 20 minutes early, and had the opportunity to talk with my teacher. I explained about my headache and that I was hoping I would pass my exam. She told me she was very sure I’d do well, which was encouraging.
Sure enough, as I worked my way through the exam, I was happy to realize that I knew most of the answers. I was one of the first to finish, and on my way home, my mom called to say she had arrived safely and had caught a bus from the airport to our town, where a mutual friend picked her up and dropped her off at our house.
A text came in from another friend who said I could hitch a ride with her to our rehearsal downtown. Another piece of good news! The rehearsal went well, and for those three hours my head was only hurting rather than throbbing, which made it easier to contend with.
It was nearly midnight by the time I got back home and headed for bed. My husband had waited up for me, and I thanked him for praying for me. I also thanked God for helping me to find His peace, which amazingly made my chaotic day turn out all right.
The next day, I read up on the biblical meaning of the word “peace.” I found that the Old Testament meaning of peace was “completeness, soundness, and the well-being of the total person.” In the New Testament, peace often refers to “inner tranquility, a combination of hope, trust, and quiet in the mind and soul.”3
I was amazed when I realized that was exactly how I had felt the previous day! Peace is really just faith, trusting that God will work everything out—somehow.
If you find yourself having “one of those days”—and hopefully it won’t come more often than every leap year or so—just pray and ask God to give you His peace, and then let Him take control. You will be amazed at the solutions He will bring and the peace He will give you. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”4