Beside Peaceful Waters
Recent events in our country brought these words to mind: Luke 12: 51-53: “Think ye that I come to bring peace on earth? I tell you no, but separation. For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”
As the scripture above states, Jesus didn’t come to bring peace to the world, but peace to our hearts, peace to those of goodwill, not peace to all men. Peace comes from our faith and commitment to His will, not ours. Those who desire their own will, will not have peace.
Our current political and social climate illustrates this all too plainly. How can we live peaceful lives in all this chaos? History teaches us that our current situation is not unusual, or uncommon. It has been repeated over and over again through the centuries with every civilization. We of course hoped ours would be different, but how could that be when men’s hearts have not changed?
For a time, our country was the exception, until people forgot the premises upon which this country was founded, and personal gain once again took precedence in people’s hearts and minds. We celebrate individualism to the point that the individual is all that matters, to the point of decimating the larger population, as in these new laws regarding transgender use of public services. In other areas, the population decimates the individual, as in abortions.
We cannot change the world, only ourselves. Imagine thousands turning their hearts back to God, as individuals. Imagine thousands no longer spewing hate, vengeance, violence. I am afraid all we can do is imagine. For in God’s own words, this will not happen upon this earth until the world, as we understand it, ceases to exist and we enter into Christ’s second coming.
However, God does promise us peace in our hearts, when we do his will regardless of the chaos on the outside. This is the peace the martyrs experienced, enabling them to endure the unthinkable. I doubt God will call me to be a martyr in the physical sense, but I can see emotional suffering if I allow our current situation to govern all my thoughts.
Since retirement, I do have the option of stepping away from the world more often. I can sit beside the gurgling stream and contemplate God’s word. I can pray more often. I can offer Gods’ words through my writing to those who might need those exact words, at that exact moment. I can find peace easier, if I choose not to rely on man’s word, but on God’s alone.
Is that easy? Absolutely not. Is it worth the struggle? Absolutely yes. How do we even begin? From Jesus’ own words, through constant prayer. It takes effort, diligence, and sometimes, a few moments beside those peaceful waters wherever we can find them. I am blessed. I have peaceful waters just around the corner from our home, along our walking path. However, should that be taken from me, with practice, I can also find peaceful waters in my heart through scripture and prayer, in that moment when I say, “Your will, not mine.”