Peace in the Storm

Peace can be hard to find in today’s world of school, social media, friends, family and other obligations. According to a recent study, over 61% of college students reported anxiety or depression as one of their major health concerns. But you don’t need me to tell you that anxiety and depression are real issues; you’re international college students – you already know! The question is, how can we possibly find peace in such a chaotic world?

I don’t know what chaos you’re facing today but I can tell you a story about how I found peace in this chaotic world so that you who are searching might be able to find peace as well.

I was a sophomore in college and had struggled with depression my whole life. It hung over me like a dark storm cloud. I couldn’t outrun it, no matter how hard I tried – talking to friends, reaching out to parents, seeing counselors – nothing brought relief from the storm. I believed in God and that he supposedly loved me but I couldn’t help thinking:

How could he love me?
What’s the point?
Why do I exist?
What’s my purpose?

These thoughts often swept around me like smoke in my face. One day, as I lay on my bed in my college apartment, these thoughts didn’t hang in the air like smoke but swarmed me like angry hornets.

What am I good for?
Do I even matter?
If I was gone, would anyone care?
What if I just stopped existing?

When this last thought came, I knew it was more than I could handle so I prayed for God to help me – for him to show me what my purpose was and who I was in relation to Christ.

With that, I remembered Jesus, the son of God. He died on a cross, then rose from the dead, so that those who believe in him would gain freedom from sin and have eternal life. I was already a Christian and knew all of this in my head but in that moment, it became more real than it had ever been before. It was as if Jesus was looking directly at me, from his place on the cross. It was as if he was saying:

Would I do this if you did not matter?
Would I pay the highest price if I didn’t care deeply for you?
If you weren’t precious to me?

The truth hit me like a bucket of cold water. Even if I don’t know my specific purpose in life, I know my overarching purpose is to praise God for what he did and who he is. So I could let these hopeless thoughts pin me down or I could accept the hope of the sacrifice Jesus made and live the life that he died for me to live.

I chose to praise God. I would praise God by sitting up and drying my eyes. I would praise God by putting my heavy feet on the ground and standing up. I would praise God by walking into the living room and sitting with my roommates. I would praise God by choosing to think about his faithfulness anytime a hopeless thought came into my head.

With these decisions, the swarm of hopeless thoughts dropped dead and my mind was filled with peace. Now, whenever life seems heavy, I remember what Jesus did for me and let that peace wash away the worry.

What about you? Leave a comment about how you find peace in today’s world.

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