I hope you forgive me for writing about death so much lately. That is where I am. That is where my family is, so I guess the inkForge involuntarily ends up in that place, too. In all honesty, this story is not so much about death as it is a miracle— a seven-word miracle. It all started at a funeral.

We had just celebrated the life of Mike Smith or ‘Uncle Mike,’ as my wife would call him. April’s family is not small and neither is the love of their friends. The line was unbelievably long, but a fitting tribute to this man’s life. After a good bit of catching up with family and friends, we made our way up to the front where aunt Darlene was waiting beside the body of uncle Mike. After a hug and some very southern pleasantries, aunt Darlene startled me with something that Uncle Mike had said, only days before his passing. I still don’t know why she shared it with me, but I’m grateful she did. Tears mixed with a smile, welled up in aunt Darlene’s eyes as she spoke about him.


It’s the strangest thing, when pain mingles with peace. I don’t understand it, but somehow, when love grieves, it’s tears are the sweetest.


She squeezed my hand and said, that uncle Mike had told her that God had given him his miracle. Darlene admitted that she thought uncle Mike meant the miracle of healing— that God was going to physically heal him. You see Mike Smith had ALS. This awful disease slowly claims your body but leaves your mind intact. Uncle Mike could not walk or talk, and eventually he couldn’t even swallow food. Which makes the next words she was about to share with me all the more weighty. Uncle Mike still had the use of one good hand. That was the only way he could still communicate with her— by writing on a piece of paper. She said he wrote the words,

“He just gave me peace over “this.”

She said this while we were standing right beside his casket. I didn’t know what to say. What could I say?

The line continued to grow with friends and loved ones, so I hugged aunt Darlene and we parted ways, but I was having all kinds of trouble with this. I’ve walked around for days trying to process what God had aloud me to hear.

That is supernatural! That is the only conclusion that makes any sense. How can a man be “at peace” with not walking, talking, or swallowing, aside from a divine hand? It just isn’t possible.

I’d been praying for a miracle the whole time. I wanted for uncle Mike to be healed and I didn’t stop praying for his healing until my wife told me that he was in God’s presence. I can’t lie, I was disappointed. But then I get to the funeral and aunt Darlene drops the full weight of uncle Mike’s 7 words on me:

“He just gave me peace over “this.”

It’s interesting to me how God often shows me so much in the places I don’t even think to look. This also reminded me of just how different His ways truly are than mine.

I was looking for healing— an extension of days here on earth for uncle Mike, but God was showing me the miracle of “peace” instead. Peace was revealed to me through the lens of grief, and let me tell you, I wasn’t ready for it, y’all. I’d never seen peace quite like this before. And now that I have, I don’t think this kind of peace is recognizable, available or reachable outside of a miracle context. O, I’ve read about it for most of my life. It’s right there in John’s gospel, straight out of the mouth of Jesus himself:


John 14:27
“27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”


You see my dilemma, though? God revealed to me that peace is not necessarily ‘safe’ and neither is the miracle that it’s attached to. You see, we’re all about the safe, readable miracles. Sign me up, right? From the secure surroundings of our homes and church sanctuaries we read of seas parting in the pages of an ancient God-book, of fiery furnaces not burning boys that are cast into them, and of lion’s mouths being shut. All of that is good, amazing and true, but let me tell you, sometimes peace itself is the miracle. I stood in flat out awe of aunt Darlene’s 7 word miracle. I was there! I was looking at it! Through a paralyzed man’s parting words and his widows grief, peace stood before me like I was seeing it for the first time. I found myself wondering, how in the world could I have lived this long, not the slightest bit aware of the requirements on a soul that God has prepared for His peace? I knew God had revealed this to me, and I’m ashamed to say that there’s a part of me that didn’t want it. I’m just being honest. He set before me the miracle peace and I was barely able to receive it. I guess it was too shocking, the grace of that moment, too real, too convicting. It crushed my shallow page-flipping, understanding of the God of peace and His miracles and I was left with the question:

which is the greater miracle, Wes, extending a man’s days in a fallen world, or showing hundreds, maybe thousands, through a paralyzed man, a brand of peace that even fear cannot touch?

Jesus has told us in His word, “be not afraid.” We say amen and nod from the relative safety of our worship services like we get it. Then, Jesus takes a life like uncle Mike’s and says to us all….

“LOOK! You don’t have to be afraid anymore!” Do you understand? He says to me, “peace,” Westley. Look upon My peace! It isn’t like the world’s peace. Do you understand now? Don’t turn away, do you see the miracle now?

God has opened my eyes with a 7 word miracle this weekend.

 “He just gave me peace over “this.”

That is the words of Uncle Mike and my parting challenge for us in this journal entry on the theinkForge. I have stated that these are the thoughts that are shaping me. Well, God has been wonderfully unrelenting with my time on the anvil these past few days.

So the challenge this morning is a question: What is my “this?” Uncle Mike said,

“He just gave me peace over “this.”

What is your “this” this morning? And are you at peace with it? If you need a hint, start with, “what am I most afraid of?” That will probably lead you straight to your “this.” It worked for me. For most of us, our “this” doesn’t approach the terror that uncle Mike just went through. But that’s just it… what we call terror, Mike Smith, somehow through the power of The Holy Spirit, called “peace.” I can’t get over it y’all. I don’t want to get over it.

“He…just…gave…me…peace…over…”this.” 

These words are impossible for any man to utter except his heart be bound to a boundless hope; to something far, far greater than anything this world can offer. Uncle Mike was so close to other side when he spoke these words. He was only days away from seeing the giver of that otherworldly peace. These are hallowed moments and sacred places, places where even worship pastors shake our heads because on my best day, I know this is way beyond mere courage and way beyond me. It is divine— the divine miracle of PEACE.

I know what my “this” is this morning. I bet you’ve figured out yours too. Ours probably isn’t comparable to uncle Mike’s, but it needs super natural peace just the same. I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna follow uncle Mike’s lead this morning. I’m giving it to God, and by his abounding grace that is working in me, I’m excepting the same peace for my “this”  that uncle Mike did for his.

In honor of Mike Smith:
Husband, father, brother, son, friend and man of God’s courageous peace.

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