Peace in the midst of a fallen world.
There wasn’t much time left in my shift. I anxiously glanced down at the once overflowing display of candles next to the cash register. My manager had given each of us a personal challenge earlier that morning. I was to sell five of the new fall candles that had just arrived. There was only one candle left –and I was determined to sell it. I just needed one more willing customer to come through my checkout line to purchase it.
Not more than a minute later a friendly looking lady made her way to my counter. She would be my last customer of the day. As she placed her items on the counter I picked up my last candle, opened it up, and held out for her to inhale.
“Hi there. You just have to smell our new pumpkin pie candle. It smells good enough to eat.” I said hopefully.
Smiling, the woman leaned in and breathed deeply. “Mmm… I’ll take one.”
I was so excited! I had sold all five candles and I couldn’t wait to tell my manager. As soon as my replacement showed up to take over for me at the register, I eagerly sought her out (with a skip in my step) to share my good news. I finally found her chatting with one of my co-workers. I waited in anticipation for her to look my way before approaching them. The moment she looked my way I enthusiastically walked up and told her.
“Good for you.” she sarcastically spat out. “Now go get some more from the back and restock the counter.”
I had been dismissed. It wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for. Not that I was expecting her to do cartwheels or anything, but a smidge of praise or encouragement would have been nice. With my shoulders slumped, I obediently turned and headed in the direction of the stock room to get more candles.
I hadn’t taken more than three steps before the sound of snickering made me stop in my tracks. Glancing back over my shoulder I saw my boss roll her eyes and whisper something in the ear of my co-worker. Although, I couldn’t hear what was said, I was pretty sure it was about me.
My heart began to pound. I turned back around and walked as fast as I could toward the stock room. Grabbing the cold handle I swung the door open and quickly ran inside. Desperately, I made my way back to the aisle where the candles were stored. Making my way down the aisle the mingled aroma of hundreds of candles seeped into my nostrils. The scent made my stomach churn. I stopped and stood there thinking about what had happened. Tears were threatening to fall. Silently, I willed them to stay put, but my eyes were begging for relief. I couldn’t hold them back any longer. Looking up at the massive display of candles before me, I let the tears spill out over my cheeks.
I have never forgotten the unsettling situation that took place that day at work. I wish I could say it was the only time someone has made me feel insignificant and unappreciated. But because we live in a fallen world there will always be instances like this one.
Allowing the tears to freely flow may have given my eyes the relief they desperately needed, but it wasn’t enough. My crushed and shaken spirit needed a different kind of relief. A relief only Jesus can provide. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.“ (John 16:33)
There will always be problems in this life. We can’t avoid it. It’s going to happen. Jesus never said this life would be trouble-free, but he did say we could find peace in him to get us through it.
We experience this peace when we bring our troubles to Jesus, put them in his hands, and trust that he will handle them for us. The peace we have in him doesn’t guarantee that our problems will instantly go away, but knowing that our almighty savior has it under control gives us relief from the pressures of this world. And that’s something to hold onto.
“Lord, we thank you that you have already overcome this world. We know and trust that you hold the world in your hands. Help us to remember that in you we have peace to get through any problem we will ever have. Amen.”
Today I am linking up with some great bloggers on #IntentionalTuesday and Five Minute Friday. Be sure to check them out. My true story was written ahead of time. The rest of the post is from the writing prompt -Relief.