Finding peace these days is quite a journey. It is a balancing act of being aware of what is happening, what is within my control, knowing my own Truth, and then surrendering it all to trust that something much greater is guiding this ship.
But surrender has not been easy for me. I have trusted my mind to a fault in my life. I have believed that I know better. I now know that this is only true when I’ve oversimplified my understanding.
I came across this snippet from What If You Could Skip the Cancer? about an experience I had back in 1995. I needed to have the reminder myself… so I thought I would share it here as well.
One winter day, I was driving to work. I lived out in the country and the roads were really icy and snow-covered. At one point, I was heading down a steep hill and I lost control of my car. I tried to correct and counter-steer but I was on a sheet of ice. There was nothing I could do. I realized that I might die. But I also realized that I had no control over that, and then the strangest thing happened. Time seemed to slow down. I felt no fear. I was completely peaceful. I wasn’t even afraid of dying.
I put one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on my stomach (I was six months pregnant at the time), and I closed my eyes. The car careened off the road, over an eight-foot drop, hit a fencepost in midair, and landed in a farmer’s field. Once the car stopped moving, I opened my eyes. The windshield was completely smashed. The crumple zone at the front of the car was completely crumpled. And the car was actually still running. I sat there for a moment amazed that I was still alive and extremely grateful. Then I turned the car off, got into a passing truck, which took me home, jumped into my in-laws’ K-car, and headed off to work again.
The experience didn’t even shake me. I had no fear attached to it at all. It amazed me how calm and serene the whole experience had been.
Then, a few days later, I heard someone on the radio talking about Psalm 23. He said it was all about letting go of control in your life and feeling the overwhelming peace that brings.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He makes me to lie down in green pastures:
he leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me;
your rod and your staff they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies:
you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In the car that day, there was a point where I realized that I had no control over the situation. At that point, I left my fate to God. God became my shepherd. My experience became the peace that one feels when lying down in green pastures beside still waters. Yea, though I was flying through the air into a fence post, I feared no evil. I was comforted. And although death was a possibility, I was blissfully happy.
And what about the goodness and mercy that will follow me for the rest of my life? Well, the greatest thing I gained was the experience, knowing that that kind of peace is possible even in dire straits. That is a phenomenal peace to carry with you.
As it turns out, my experience was not unique. Six months later, my father-in-law was driving a tractor hauling a wagon of beans to the local mill. As he headed down a steep hill, part of the steering mechanism of the tractor seized and he had no control of the tractor. The tractor went flying down the hill, off the road, and into the swamp, with the ten-ton load of soybeans pressing the tractor and my father-in-law down into the muck.
Miraculously, the back window of the tractor opened. It had been jammed shut for years. He slipped out of the tractor and started walking home.
Well, my mother-in-law was out of her mind. She was horrified at what could’ve happened. Most of the neighbourhood turned out at my in-laws’ place to drink coffee, hear the story, and congratulate my father-in-law on still being there to talk about it. Every relative, neighbour, and friend was there talking, telling stories of other close calls, fretting, or comforting my mother-in-law.
As I watched the crazy scene, I noticed my father-in-law over in a corner of the room just sitting pretty quietly. Most assumed that he was just shaken from the accident and being quiet. I had other suspicions.
So I went over to sit beside him and asked him, “So, how did you feel when you realized that you had no control over the tractor?”
He looked at me for a moment and then said, “You know, it’s the strangest thing. Once I realized that I couldn’t do anything, I was completely calm. I wasn’t afraid at all.”
I said, “I know exactly what you mean.”
✨ An excerpt from my book What If You Could Skip the Cancer?. ✨
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