In the daunting thought of so many human-made calamities, one may ask, when will there finally come real peace? We know it’s possible, but how can peace become possible? Most who create upheaval, experience life from a fortunate magnanimity. In addition, there are those who with their tongues throw out woeful sewage—shredding every bit of dignity their victims may have. The cuts are so deep that some faced with this form or destruction carry scars for a lifetime. And, even in knowing Christ, in some cases healing can be tough especially when callous indifference from the offender is evident.
The great importance is that people under the teachings of God’s Word are often healed and eventually come to live in and with peace. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards the heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4 v. 7).
But how do we get there? How did I get here?
Dr. Ed Welch wrote this:
“Peace takes work. To consider peace with or within ourselves, we need time to consider where there isn’t peace. And that is more difficult than it seems. Our pace of life works against it.” (pg. 10). Isaiah nine v. six tells us so eloquently about the Prince of Peace. And so many sermons have been produced based on this beautiful characteristic of Jesus. Yet, some still struggle to find peace and to hold on to it.
Painful events, disappointments, community unrest, instabilities in the soul and mind, establishing a strong footing of sweet love, and sometimes even attaining joy, cause fluxes when one strives to walk with peace. When we want so much to mark that concrete block with peace. When we blow the dust and shine the etched stone! But in the moment, we find peace there are times we lose it instantaneously. Without peace we mourn. Our hearts ache. We cry out. And return on our knees.
I recently read an interesting article on the role of pain as a most powerful witness. The author asserts that:
“Our pain may be the most powerful tool for bringing others to Christ and fulfilling his ‘Great Commission’ to make disciples of all people. It may also be the least utilized tool.” (Warren, pg. 81).
We move into the season of remembering what Jesus Christ did for us. In a reflection I wrote a few years ago I discussed how solemn Holy Week was for my family. We mourned and felt so terrible for still not getting it. For having to repent of our sins every day. We looked forward to Easter Sunday, to sing “Christ the Lord is risen, today!” But we grappled with finding peace based on how we treated our neighbors, and because it was sometimes difficult to love the way Jesus instructed us to. No legalism here. Simply facts! And today we still struggle to understand His sweet love for us! And come Holy Week, we mourn again…
“Eia Mother, fount of love, make me feel the power of sorrow, that I might mourn with you.” (From the “Stabat Mater,” thirteenth century).
Based on my own firsthand experiences, I concur with Warren’s statement. You see, I tended to hold on tightly to pain as well as the hurts I have incurred. And, instead of discourse, I walked away from engagement. I also listened intentionally, but I still walked away. I retreated to safe spaces, as I tried earnestly to read and understand God’s Word. As I tried sincerely to find answers to the pain, from the hurt. As I tried desperately to find peace.
Then a while back something clicked for me as I read Psalms 34 v. 14 (b), which says:
“…. seek peace and pursue it.”
The Apostle Paul’s statement on this topic, I found profound as well,
“So let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14 v. 19)
“When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O God have mercy on me.”
Have mercy on me heavenly Father.
I arise each morning with God’s mercies. Presently I live in such thankfulness and deep discernment as I move toward daily interactions, chores, care for others, observations, the understanding of the deep love I have for another. This quiet love I hold on to. A love I haven’t shared! But in this love, I find great peace. This love I carry is a step closer to how Jesus instructed me to love (John 15 v. 12). This deep love I embrace shows me my sins, and propels me to know them, and to repent from them. And for this love I am grateful. In this love I experience God’s grace.
And I pray:
“Here is where I am, O Lord. I find myself drawn to one in whom I see a striking beauty of personhood, a depth of soul, a sensitivity to goodness and truth, a vibrant intentionality of life and choice. I praise you God, for creating such a person and displaying in them unique expression of your glory.”
“I thank you that my path has crossed theirs in this time and place in history. I am increasingly drawn to this one you have created and I desire to know them more. But I am finite and limited, and I cannot see the path that lies ahead on this journey toward eternity”.
“So, give me wisdom Lord, do not let my emotions get ahead of me.” (Excerpt of prayer for dating and courtship, pg. 178).
The wick of the exquisite candle on my nightstand flickers. Nothing in the world could surpass this gentleness I know in this beautiful moment. Strife ceases, worry fades, disappointments fall away, hurts of the past are no longer, my heart aches no more.
Here right now, I know peace.
In His Love, we grow, together,
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
McKelvey, D. (2019). Every moment holy. Rabbit Room Press, pg. 178
Warren, R. (2023). God’s purpose in your pain. Plough (35), pg. 81
Welch, E. (2023). Peace with ourselves. Table Talk Magazine, (27)1, pg. 10