For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. –Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
What is peace to you? If you look it up in the dictionary you get many definitions. It can be inner peace or it can be peace in the environment. If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, is that peace within your soul or peace in the world? Maybe it is both.
When our son was younger than 17 he had a dream to become a Marine and he was going to serve for at least 20 years. He asked us to sign for him to become a Poolee in the Marine Corps when he became 17. This meant he was going to join as soon as he graduated from high school. He would train with Marines before leaving for boot camp.
People asked me how could we sign for him to join. It is an honorable profession. But he might get killed. Well, he might walk across a street and get hit by a bus, too. I just do not see how you can do that. … I felt at peace signing for him to join.
The day he left for boot camp, Rev. Donald Avery had a blessing ceremony to send our son off. It was a beautiful service with family and friends present. I felt peace after such a gorgeous blessing. I felt like things would be okay.
During MOS school, our son had duty on Christmas. Christmas was a family celebration. He was glad to be a Marine but sad that we could not worship or be together. We flew to Camp LeJeune and spent a wonderful, peaceful Christmas seeing him when he was not on duty. We had a non-traditional Christmas on the beach. There was a small artificial tree that is still used at his house every Christmas.
The next Christmas was at Camp Pendleton. Again, our son had duty on Christmas. We were able to attend church services on Christmas Eve, however. During that stay the power went out, and we had so much fun all piled into the double bed and playing games. I was at peace.
In 2003 while we were at Boy Scout camp our son called us. He had gotten the notice that day that he would be shipping out for Iraq the next day. We told him he was a well-loved child of God and that we loved him and were very proud of him. I was at peace. Fortunately, he did not have to go that time.
In 2004 the orders to Iraq were carried out. I had time to go to California to bid the troops farewell. It was February in California and everything was brown. As we were driving to the other side of the base, I saw a green plant on the side of the road. To me that was the sign from God that things were going to be okay. This gave me much peace about the situation.
My son saw many things and experienced horrible things while in Iraq. He never lost his faith, and it became even stronger. He came home not the same but still a fine young man. Even though he is not what we might have expected him to be at this age, we know God is with him, and we can release our cares to God. We have the peace of God that exceeds all understanding.
My peace is within me. The world has not yet found peace, but the Prince of Peace is still at work in all of us.
Daphne G. Grady