The grip of fear was suffocating. For years my husband Larry and I had dreamed of going on an Alaskan cruise and here we were, sailing on Alaska’s inside passage. Since leaving Vancouver, the sea had been calm. Our ship was huge and I was having no problems with motion sickness. Several days into our journey we entered the port of Skagway. This port touted the most exciting adventure of all. There would be a flight to a nearby island where a bus tour would take us to see bear, moose, eagles and mountain goats. On the return flight we would experience a breathtaking view of the glaciers.
That morning Larry and I enjoyed our breakfast with friends, while viewing the Skagway harbor and the surrounding mountains. Our friends were taking a helicopter ride over the glaciers later that morning while Larry and I were flying in a small 12 seat airplane on our journey. Sipping my coffee, I looked directly at the helipad and watched a helicopter land. My heart began to race. A powerful wind had begun to blow while we were eating. I could see the helicopters bob up and down, and swing side to side as they were taking off and landing. They looked like a piece of popcorn ejecting from an air popper.
Ten years earlier I had dealt with a fear of flying and received freedom by putting my trust in the Lord. Watching the wind toss the helicopters stirred up that fear and my heart was pounding in my chest. After breakfast we walked through town and on to the airport. The wind was so forceful we had to lean into it to be able to keep our balance. With every step I was not only struggling with the wind, I was struggling with intense fear.
We got to the airstrip just in time to see our plane arriving. In dismay, I watched it dancing in the sky like the helicopters I had seen earlier. I turned to Larry and said, “I can’t do this. You go on and I’ll stay in town and wait for you.” Our tickets were prepaid and this adventure was relatively expensive. There would be no refunds at the last minute. Larry answered, “No, honey, if you can’t get on the plane, I won’t either. It’s okay.” I tried to reason with him as we allowed our group to line up ahead of us and one by one step into the plane.
As we followed the group forward, each step brought me closer and closer to the door of the plane. I did not want to waste the money we had invested on this excursion but the fear made me shudder. As the last two people got on the plane, the pilot was standing by the door ready to greet us. He looked at me and he could see the terror on my face. Humiliated, I began to cry. The pilot spoke to me with understanding and kindness. He told me he was a highly experienced pilot and familiar with this kind of weather. He also informed me it was only a ten minute flight to the island and if I thought I could not endure the 45 minute return flight over the glaciers, they would send me back by boat.
I did not want to miss such an incredible trip or waste the cost of the tickets, nor did I want to concede to defeat because of fear. I slowly stepped up into the plane. There were only two seats left. I took the window seat in the back row. When I sat down I tried to compose myself as tears continued to fall down my cheeks. I began to pray, repenting for being fearful. I knew fear was not of God. 1 John 4:18 states, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].”
I told the Lord I not only knew the fear had not come from Him, I also knew this kind of fear was the lie of the enemy. Although my mind understood, my emotions still felt overwhelmed by fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 declares: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”
Having repented, and being determined to rein in my emotions, I asked the Lord to take away the fear in my heart and replace it with His peace. Miraculously, as the plane lifted off the ground I felt as if I was in a bubble of peace. Peering out of the window I saw incredible views of mountain peaks that appeared almost close enough to touch. I was in heaven. I never felt one bump, sway or drop. I took pictures as fast as I could shoot, amazed at the beauty and splendor below. I could hear a woman at the front of the plane screaming in fear, but I never felt anything but God’s perfect peace. After our tour of the island, I fearlessly boarded back on our plane. As we flew over the glaciers, I looked in awe at the contrast between the dazzling white snow and the rich blue-green glacial ice. Our return trip was 45 minutes and all that time I was in ecstasy. I was given two gifts that morning, a feast for the eyes and a feast in the Peace of God. My experience that day taught me an important lesson: my feelings are not reliable, but God is.
In Peace At Last Part 1, I quoted the following scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7a “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end.”
Reading this powerful prophecy about Jesus, I was struck by two phrases: “and the government shall be upon His shoulder” and “Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end”. The revelation of the eternal power and authority of Jesus to rule and reign, not only in heaven but also on earth, shook me to the core. It meant, no matter what environment I was in, Jesus had the power to intervene on my behalf!
When the disciples of Jesus asked Him how to pray, He taught them The Lord’s Prayer which is found in Matthew 6:9-13. After acknowledging God as our Heavenly Father and honoring His name, Jesus spoke a powerful declaration: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus gave His disciples (us) the license to invoke His Kingdom authority and rule to intervene in our circumstances. When we surrender our lives to Jesus’ authority, the Prince of Peace comes, breaks through the chaos of this world, and restores peace.
The dominion for our peace comes from heaven to earth. The governments of this world, the government of the United States or any other government on earth cannot give us peace. True peace only comes through faith in Jesus, upon Whose shoulders God placed His government authority. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. By giving Him permission to rule in our lives, we can abide in His peace not just in eternity, but here on earth.
When I heard the woman screaming in the plane I realized the Lord had not stilled the wind, instead, He had stilled my heart. The plane must have bounced around but I did not feel it. He had enclosed me in a bubble of His peace and nothing could touch me, harm me or cause me to be afraid. God does not always change the circumstance we are in, but He does change our perspective of our circumstance while empowering us to face it. The Peace of God gives us overcoming power and grace for whatever confronts us, including death.
Larry and I have had the privilege of ministering to several loved ones at their time of death. We have learned there is no holier time than when one graduates from earth into eternity. We have witnessed the power of God’s Peace swallow up the fear of death for those who call Jesus Lord. The Apostle Paul explained it so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55. “And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The One Who is Peace has the divine power and authority to bring Peace into every situation of our lives. We need not live in fear another day. He holds the keys to death and hades. He has the power to not only transform our lives but to also transform the atmosphere around us from fear, worry, and anxiety to perfect Peace.
The Peace of God comes when we confess our weaknesses and cry out for His presence. In His presence we will find His Peace. When we abide in the presence of the Prince of Peace, then we can truly say, “Ahhhhhhh, Peace at last!”