After yesterday, I think that my work on peace this week is being put to the test. Yesterday I lost my job. For no good reason, I was fired and told that a new girl would be replacing me this morning. The attorney then told me to clear out my things and hand over my keys, as he had his associate escort me out of the office. I do not think that I have ever felt so useless and stupid. Without any notice, I was dropped, and now I am sitting here when I should be starting my day at the office.
Let me tell you, I am finding it difficult to stay at peace with this situation. I suddenly have no income and I do not know what to do next. The last time I was job hunting, when we moved here to Utah, it took me seven (7) months to find this job, and I really hope it does not take that long to find my next one. Please pray for as I battle this discouragement.
All throughout the Old Testament, the Hebrew people are wandering in search of the promise land, or battling over land within the promise land. It is during this wandering that I read over and over again “go in peace” or “went in peace”. Over and over again someone, whether it be God himself, a king, or the priest, is telling someone else to go in peace. To be honest, when I left that office yesterday I did not “go in peace.” Rather I went in pieces (hence the clever name of this post).
One of my favorite stories that includes the phrase “go in peace” in the Old Testament is 1 Samuel 1:1-20:
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite[a] from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
15 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.”
In this story, Hannah did as she was told, and went in peace. In fact, she was at such peace that she “went her way and ate something.” Personally, when I am really upset I do not tend to have an appetite. For example, last night I did not eat anything after getting the news that I no longer had a job. But here, Hannah’s peace gave her an appetite.
Another aspect of this story that stands out to me in this time of anxiety for me, is that Hannah arose the next morning and worshiped God. Unfortunately I did not follow Hannah’s example this morning. Rather I awoke feeling sorry for myself. Tomorrow morning my desire is to wake up and rather than first thing feeling sorry for myself, I want to wake up praising God for Lyle’s promotion to Marketing Director at Chic-Fil-A he got yesterday. Even through this time of failure for me, God has provided for us in Lyle’s success. God is and will always provide for us; He does not need my measly little paycheck to do it.