When the Answer Is Peace
Answers to my personal prayers have always come in many forms. Sometimes it’s calming music in the right moment, a scripture that speaks to my heart, or a prompting to reach out and serve. At times, something finally comes together that I thought never would. But when I am struggling the most, it’s sometimes a different answer. And I’m often reluctant to recognize and be grateful for that answer. It’s an answer that is hard to “listen” to because it doesn’t always feel like an answer. It is when the answer is peace.
In the New Testament, in Matthew 8 and Mark 4, we read as the Savior Jesus Christ has just finished the Sermon on the Mount. He went about healing others, and then, as multitudes gathered, He left in a ship, and His disciples followed.
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:37–39).
How many times have I asked the heavens, “Carest thou not that [I] perish?” or “How canst thou lie asleep?” (“Master, the Tempest Is Raging, Hymns, no. 105). Perhaps the Savior could have just answered the question. That He cares. That the boat won’t sink. But instead, “he arose … and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. … And there was a great calm.”
The disciples wanted to know if the Savior cared. The Savior gave them peace in the storm. When I’ve asked, “How come I have to deal with this particular situation in my life?” I don’t usually get the answer I expect. And I probably wouldn’t appreciate it if I did. If God answered all my questions with a spoken-word answer, it probably wouldn’t always reach me or suffice my need. The facts of the matter aren’t always what I need, even though it’s what I think I want.
Instead, “there [is] a great calm.” The answer is simply peace.
When my mom had brain surgery twice while I was on my mission, there was no way for me to research and understand what was going on. I couldn’t find out the answers to “What are the outcomes of this particular surgery?” or “How exactly will this be performed?” The Lord could have answered those questions. But instead, a great calm. Peace.
When my dad had open heart surgery a few years ago, things didn’t go exactly as planned. My mom and I sat in the waiting room through two long surgeries late into the evening. I wanted to know if he would be all right, if all would be normal, if God cared. He could have just said, “Yes, I do care.” In a way, He did. I felt a great calm. Peace. Which was not only a sign He cared, but a balm to a tired soul.
When my grandmother went to the emergency room due to complications from pneumonia and the hospital staff messed some things up, eventually sepsis took us to the painful point of deciding to let her return to her heavenly home. I wanted to know why God let the hospital staff mess things up. I wanted to know if someone would pay for the mistake. Instead, a great calm. Peace.
It’s a more common answer the more I reflect on it. When receiving opportunities to serve in the Church, when starting new semesters, when starting new jobs. When taking on new projects at work. When dealing with the heart-wrenching difficulties of depressive moments. When struggling with the immense hurt and pain caused by others’ choices. When watching others struggle so deeply and not knowing how to help. When not understanding certain points of doctrine or policy. When trying to get over a broken heart and wondering if I will ever be able to love again. God could just tell me why all of it is happening and what it all means. He could give direct answers. And sometimes He does. But most of the time, He gives what I really need. A great calm. Peace.
“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:23).
The Savior, our Prince of Peace, says to us: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Not as the world giveth. Not a quick answer. Not a list of five things we can do to solve our problem. Not a historical overview in our minds. Not a method to turn our symptoms into a diagnosis. Not a cure. Not someone brought back. Not immediate restitution or reconciliation. Not always a phone call when we need it. Not always someone reaching out at just the right moment. Those moments do happen, and I am grateful for those moments.
But at times, all I need is a great calm. When the answer is peace.
Liz graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in communications and from the University of Utah with an MBA. She works in product management but her favorite job is being a professional aunt.