When I think of defining “peace” in my own words, my first thought is to join it with what I consider to be its sister term: “quiet”.
To have some peace and quiet is to have a place of tranquility where it seems I may have a hopeful glimmer of bringing all my scattered thoughts into some sort of order.
Peace and Quiet is a land where I am not required to come up with responses to someone else’s thoughts and I do not have to sort through processing anything that is being presented to me either verbally or nonverbally by anyone else or deal with situations that I am not equipped or prepared to handle.
Except there is a small problem with Peace and Quiet and that is the noisy conversations still going on inside of my own head and heart.
So I see that the phrase from yesterday’s devotion is so true…
“Control masquerades as peace…”
Because when I am left to just myself and my own jumbled thoughts, I can feel like I am at peace, but I am really just fooling myself that I am more in control of the chaos.
I looked up the definition of peace and found that biblically this word means “complete wellness and wholeness” – much more than just a placid condition of lack of stress and conflict.
Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase “how can we attain peace” and sadly of the fourteen options on the first page of the search, only one was biblically directed near the bottom of page, and it was from Joel Osteen.
Some of the suggestions from other sources seemed to direct the seeker into methods of taking charge of thoughts and situations. By will power, or mind power, or just changing your perspective on things – you can attain peace.
I don’t think so.
If I am left to rely on my willpower to overcome a lack of peace, I have fifteen unwanted and stubborn pounds of flesh that can not resist a bag of potato chips. Every ounce of that fatty tissue will testify that no matter how much I want to change, I do not have the power within me to bring that about.
But what I do have, is a strong understanding that to be made completely well and whole is going to take something bigger than me. What I do have is the realization that there is something more to having peace than just being quiet and still.
What I really want, as I think about it, is not an absence of conflict and not an uninterrupted series of days where I can do what I want and do it well.
If I were to have that, I would also not have most of the people I love or they would have to live like robots doing what I want them to do.
No, that’s not what I want.
What I really want is to remain stable and healthy and healed and whole as I move through life sharing the journey with others who think differently, respond differently, ask me questions I have to think about or don’t know the answer to, deal with moods that are not congruent with my current mood, correct children with the same exact information I have corrected them with a thousand times and not lose my junk, not overreact when too much happens all at once, not come undone when plans get changed or the needs of someone else wipes out my well-planned day…
What I really want is this:
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.James 3:17-18 THe message
That’s a good place to start, right?
Can I pray for us?
Heavenly Father, God of mercy and grace. Your love for us and patience with us is unending and I am so grateful.
Father God, you see the conflict and stress of our days from a vantage point of knowing the end from the beginning.
When things start swirling around us and within us today, oh Lord, would you in your kindness gently or sternly (your choice to get our attention) remind us that You are our Peace.
We do not have to conjur up some kind of peaceful state for ourselves but rather we can know that You have given us YOUR peace through Your Son, Jesus Christ.
You have made us healed and whole and complete in Him and I pray we could rest in that and believe that and live in that truth.
In Jesus’ Name