Matthew 5:9 NIV
Speaking of children of God, I had the great pleasure of spending an entire day with my four month old grandson, Evan, on Monday. I am officially Evan’s “Granny Nanny” on Mondays – from now until he graduates from high school. Hmmm… I’ll be seventy-something by then, so maybe I’ll want to retire, say, before he hits those difficult teen years.
And speaking of peace, there’s nothing more peaceful than a baby’s gaze while taking his bottle or an angelic face while snoozing during naptime. I couldn’t resist dressing Evan in his, “You’re looking at PERFECTION” t-shirt. The prophet Isaiah said, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah. 26:3 NLT) This Granny Nanny certainly experienced perfect peace!
The concept of peace, unfortunately, is divisive. Peoples and parties disagree vehemently with each other on how to establish peace. There’s the nonviolent camp and the violence-can’t-be-avoided camp, and every shade and flavor in between. According to christianlibrary.org, during the 3100 years of recorded world history, the world has been at peace only 8% of the time (that’s a paltry 286 out of 3100 years) and 8,000 treaties have been made—and broken. Clemens Kirchner defines peace as, “a short pause between wars for enemy identification.” I imagine Kirchner spoke sarcastically, but given the statistics, I’m afraid that he is right on target.
Peace on earth is precarious, both to establish and to preserve, and our track record is lousy. While Jesus is called the Prince of Peace, he also said, "I've come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now! I've come to change everything, turn everything right-side up—how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I've come to disrupt and confront!” (Luke 12:49-53 The Message) But Jesus also promised, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you,” and in the same breath encouraged us to, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)
My heart is often “troubled” and my life is shadowed by all sorts of fears. So how do I make Jesus’ words a reality in my life? Apostle Paul makes this suggestion: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
"A Still, Small Voice"
There’s a quiet spot in the depths of my being
where God in silence dwells,
The holy, infinite presence of God,
where awareness slowly wells.
Away from the noisy outer world,
enclosed where it’s calm and still,
Breathing in deep tranquility,
as mind and spirit fill.
It’s a silence that speaks without words,
and doesn’t sound to the ear,
But listening to it with my heart,
can soothe every doubt and fear.
The unconditional love I feel
makes each anxiety cease,
As the overwhelming essence of God
floods my soul with the sweetest peace.
I met Connie in an online writers’ group. On Monday, while writing this column, I took a break to catch up on all the e-mails that had piled up while I was gone on vacation last week. Connie actually sent me this poem that very day. Given the dozens of e-mails awaiting me, I wasn’t reading them very carefully. I sped through Connie’s poem and was about to close the e-mail when I felt a nudge to reread it. The second time through, the peace of her poetry seeped into my soul and I felt its message.
Rather than rushing on to the next newspaper article, I encourage you to read Connie’s poem again and let the Spirit guide you into “the holy, infinite presence of God.” May your soul be flooded “with the sweetest peace” today.
FYI: you can check out Connie’s poetry at http://www.freewebs.com/conniearnold/.