Peace / by daniel hamlin

 New Zealand. Shortly before we scrambled into our wetsuits to paddle out. 

New Zealand. Shortly before we scrambled into our wetsuits to paddle out. 

Something most people don’t know about me is that for most of my life I’ve dealt with anxiety; from the time I was a young boy when I didn’t even know what it was, and still to this day. Every so often it will creep up on me and catch me off my guard. It isn’t severe but it is real enough. It’s a rather sickening feeling, something I’d wish on no one. I’m not sharing this information to get people to feel sorry for me or to try to sound as though I’ve had (or have) a tough life. I am extremely grateful for the life I have and the grace I’ve been shown, and I’m very aware of how fortunate I am.

             But to put it bluntly, anxiety sucks. Anyone who has dealt with it knows this. I used to be a little apprehensive about admitting I deal with it. It tends to be one of those topics that are fairly misunderstood. Half the time it feels as though people look at me like I am crazy and wonder if I’m allowed to be outside, the other half it feels like they’re thinking that if my faith were stronger I wouldn’t be dealing with it; that I should just let God heal me of it. I’m sure most of the time it’s simply my own insecurities coming to the surface. And just to be clear I believe medicine works, and I also believe God heals. I’m well aware of the role brain chemistry plays and the help that medicine can provide. I benefit from modern medicine everyday. But I’m also fully convinced God is capable of healing in an instant that which medicine can only treat.

            So where does that leave me and why do I divulge this information now? Well for starters I felt Him remind me recently of something He spoke to me when I was 18 while on my first international trip without my parents. I was in Mexico with Christian Surfers on the roof of our house looking at the stars in the night sky. As I stared up at the heavens I began to talk to the Lord. I had been feeling a little alone and anxious on that trip. As I spoke to Him that night I heard Him respond to me. I felt Him say to me, “If I am God, then that means I am God everywhere; not just God when your in the comfort of your own home and land. I am God in Mexico and God everywhere else. I am with you wherever you are and will protect you in foreign lands as well as at home.” It was a moment I won’t forget. In that dialogue the Lord broadened my horizons, He expanded my borders, He taught me the importance of His authority throughout creation, and my necessity to rely on Him. He brought peace to an anxious teenagers heart not because I deserved it or had earned it, but for no other reason than the simple fact that He loves us.

           He is the God of peace and He continues to be the source of peace in my life. Whenever anxiety makes its un-welcomed presence felt the only thing that has ever truly brought peace to my soul has been the Lord.

            Lately I’ve been feeling like He’s taking me back to that rooftop experience. I’ve felt the need and longing to be closer to Him. To be ever aware of His presence in each moment, to realize no matter what land I am in or if I’m feeling anxious or alone that He is with me and He still sits on the throne. His creation still must heed His word, regardless of what nation or land He speaks it in.