If life’s disruptions feel suffocating or peace seems like a distant fantasy…

Go in Peace: Navigating Life’s Disruptions with Faith, Fortitude, and Divine Purpose

Andrea D. Price
6 min readDec 11, 2023


“Go in Peace” is often used as a benediction at the end of a church service. The Bible contains many instances of people saying this phrase, including when Jesus healed a woman with a bleeding disorder. After healing her, he told her to “Go in peace” because her faith healed her.

But “Go in Peace” is more than just a nice sentiment. It’s a directive for how to live our lives.

On this life’s journey, there are curves and straightaways, ups and downs, mountains and valleys, huge lakes and small streams, and we must learn to navigate each terrain. And as we journey, how do we go in peace?

How do we go in peace to a job that stresses us? How do we go in peace to take a challenging test? How do we go in peace to take care of a family or aging parents? How do we go in peace after a bad breakup? How do we go in peace after sorrow? How do we go in peace when our comfort is disrupted by the unexpected?

Mary and Joseph: Life’s Disruptions

Mary and Joseph knew what it felt like to have their lives suddenly disrupted. An angel’s announcement to Mary that she would conceive a son while still unmarried could have resulted in her death. Despite her initial shock and fear, Mary found solace in her faith, telling the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Similarly, Joseph’s initial reaction to Mary’s pregnancy was disruptive. However, his faith helped him find a sense of peace.

Mary and Joseph’s Journey to Bethlehem

In Luke 2:1–5, Mary and Joseph are in another disruptive situation. It was a situation that had them go on an unexpected journey.

Caesar Augusts, the self-chosen title of Octavian, or Gaius Octavius, conducted the census to count the people and levy taxes to fund the Roman world. Caesar Augustus’ decision disrupted Mary’s and Joseph’s lives.

Like Mary and Joseph, no matter how much we love and trust God, we are not immune to life’s disruptions. Mary was pregnant and had to make the 90-mile, five-day journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

As they journeyed, what did they take with them? What did they leave behind? What kind and how much food did they pack? Since others were traveling to register for the census, who did they see on the way? What did they wear? What exact path did they take? Did Mary have to take frequent bathroom breaks? How did they travel? Did they have a horse or donkey to ride? If Mary walked the entire way, did walking help with the delivery? (My elders often tell pregnant loved ones to “walk the baby out.”) I don’t know the answers. But I do know that they had to go and go in peace.

Mary’s and Joseph’s “Go in peace” story wasn’t a simple trip to Bethlehem to register for the census. They needed to travel south along the flatlands of the Jordan River. They needed to travel west and tackle the steep, rugged hills that led them to Bethlehem. They needed to watch for the bears and lions known to canvas the terrain and attack travelers. They needed to stay alert because of the ​​bandits, pirates of the desert, and robbers known to ambush travelers.

Despite the hardships they might have faced, they remained steadfast in their faith, and God was with them every step of the way.

Go With God, Go In Peace

How did they go in peace? How do we go in peace?

We go in peace when we go with God.

I met Bishop Connie Mitchell Shelton from the United Methodist Church a few months ago in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She touched me and prayed, “Help her remember that she is not alone.” This prayer was what I needed at the time. Mary and Joseph didn’t journey alone either; they traveled with God.

Life’s journey is a trip we don’t have to take alone. Life gets hard, and as the song says, “Trouble in my way, I got to cry sometimes.” God welcomes those tears, and we must welcome God as our forever travel companion. God also sends people who we need when we need them. Keep those people close.

Don’t Give Up

Mary and Joseph’s trip was mentally and physically taxing, just like our life’s journey might be. However, Mary and Joseph needed to complete the journey because their destination was greater than the journey. Their purpose was greater than the potential problems they faced. Their possible struggles were worth their travel sacrifice.

Their journey led to the miraculous birth of Jesus, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, The Wonderful Counselor, the Light of the World, the Great I Am, The Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star, and the Prince of Peace. Their story embodied the promise of a Savior who would come to be with us. Even the prophet Micah foretold that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. This journey was not merely a census trip but a divine one. When we allow God into our lives, our journeys are imbued with divine purpose, no matter how difficult or unexpected.

I don’t know if Mary and Joseph would have had a reason to travel to Bethlehem if it were not for the census. When we have to do the unexpected at unexpected times, it is often for a divine purpose.

Are You Willing to Go in Peace?

Are you willing to “Go in peace” to fulfill your purpose? Are you willing to “Go in peace” although metaphorical lions and bears might be waiting to attack? Are you willing to “Go in peace” through the rough terrain?

When we go, know that God is going with us. God will never leave us nor forsake us. God’s rod and staff comfort us on our journey. God was there with Mary and Joseph; God is with me and you too! Knowing that God is with us on every journey we take, no matter how hard, should give us peace.

A God-led journey is worth the trip. When we go on God’s command, our lives become manifestations of our faith. I can imagine the enslaved who sang the song, “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” trusting that if God says “Go,” God will lead.


“Go in Peace” stories turn into testimonies that continue to inspire and uplift those who hear them. Even Mary’s and Joseph’s stories continue to encourage, and yours can too.

During this Advent season, as we reflect on Jesus, we should also remember how God has been present throughout our lives. Reflection, even about the hard times, grows gratitude.

A Call to Action

If you’re experiencing difficulty finding peace or hearing God’s voice, here are some methods worth considering. Spend time reflecting, praying, meditating, reading the Bible, fasting, sharing your time and resources, and connecting with supportive, loving, and encouraging people. The more time we intentionally spend with God, the more we understand peace.

If life’s disruptions feel suffocating or peace seems like a distant fantasy, I urge you to trust God still and:

Go in peace with the faith of Mary and Joseph.

Go in peace with the fortitude of Richard Allen.

Go in peace with the fierceness of Shirley Chisolm.

Go in peace with the strength of Jarena Lee.

Go in peace with the fearlessness of Denmark Vesey.

Go in peace with the power of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner.

Go in peace with the persistence of John Lewis.

Go in peace with the courage of Rosa Parks.

Go in peace with the fire of Fannie Lou Hamer.

Last but not least, Go in peace with the love of Jesus.

Go in peace.

This passage is from a speech I gave to a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church Members in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on December 10, 2023.