Finding Peace When Life Is out of Control

by Lauren and Michael McAfee January 2, 2024
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

When things don’t go our way, our reflex is to grasp for control, organize and systematize, plot and plan, and make bold declarations of what we’ll do if things don’t get turned around fast.

My husband and I experienced this when our adoption journey took years longer than we’d expected and again when our daughter was diagnosed with cancer seven weeks after we brought her home. We tried to strategize, scheme and barter with God yet again when a judge told us to hand over our foster son to his biological family a year after we had brought him into our home.

When we realize deep in our souls that we are not in control, but God is, we know peace and hope beyond our circumstances. We begin to understand that God can bring good to us despite the most evil and devastating events in our lives. God is orchestrating all things for His eternal glory and our eternal joy.

Just before Jesus faced His crucifixion, He gathered His disciples in the upper room to share a final meal together. Jesus knew they would feel fearful after His crucifixion, so He told them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Peace. Wholeness. The basic definition of the word “shalom” can mean “made good,” “fully restored,” “set at one again.” It's the sense that whatever was missing has been returned, whatever was lacking has been replaced, whatever was fractured has been brought back together.

Just as Jesus offered peace to His disciples, God longs to usher peace into your life. But this isn’t something He will force on you. This is something you choose.

If peace seems inaccessible, ask God to search you and know your heart, to try you and know your thoughts, like David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24. Invite God to probe the innermost part of you to see what might be askew. Are you believing that God is who He says He is? That He is doing what He said He would do? What unbelief could be leading you away from the peace to be found in Him today?

God doesn’t stand back as we struggle or try to convince us pain doesn’t exist — it does. But in His very presence, God declares over us that our pain doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Pain does not get to win. And by His power, accompanied by prevailing peace, God will walk us from here to eternity in safety, holding our hand each step of the way.

Search me, God, and know my heart. Show me today if I am not believing in who You say You are. You promise a peace that is different than the peace the world gives. You promise hope that this pain will one day disappear. Lead me in the way everlasting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Realizing how little control we have over our lives can make us fearful and anxious — or it can lead to greater intimacy with God. Lauren and Michael McAfee’s new book, Beyond Our Control: Let Go of Unmet Expectations, Overcome Anxiety, and Discover Intimacy with God, offers direction and inspiration to trust God in times of uncertainty.



You can connect with Lauren and Michael McAfee on Instagram: @laurenamcafee and @michaelmcafee.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Beyond Our Control by Lauren and Michael McAfee. To celebrate this book, their publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, January 8, 2024.}


Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

In light of John 14:27 and Philippians 4:7, what would Jesus’ peace look like in your life today? What does it mean to choose peace?

© 2024 by Lauren and Michael McAfee. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Nelson Books for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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