Perspectives of Peace seen through a Hay Barn
Peace just sounds like a calm word doesn’t it? Even the way you say the word peace is peaceful. You don’t have to open your mouth you simply allow a breath to escape and the word sounds out in a calm way. The Greeks felt peace was the wholeness, well-being of health, and my personal favorite, undisturbed. Peace though can have many meanings to different people. What I may consider to be a peaceful state you may not agree so there are different perspectives of and on the word peace.
I had the privilege last weekend to travel, meet, and spend the afternoon with my favorite cousin who is more of a brother than a cousin. During our time together I experienced things from a different perspective as an adult that I feel relates to my thinking about the different perspectives of peace. My cousin and I speak on the phone weekly but the span of time since just the two of us had been able to spend any time together was entirely too long. So the time was meaningful as we not only caught up face to face but traveled down the proverbial memory lane together.
It was a beautiful but cool afternoon after snow had blanketed the area earlier in the week. We decided to take advantage of the sun shine andÂ ride down to our grandparent’s old farm placeÂ and ask permission from the current owner to walk on the property. The ownerÂ gladly granted permissionÂ for us to do so but warned us to be careful for the ground was muddy where the snow was melting. We wandered around the area of the farm with the most structures which has greatly changed over the years. The farm-house and some of the other outbuildings are no longer there but enough remains that allowed us to gain our bearings along with our memories.
One of the first things I saw was the still standing picnic table. We both remembered playing on the huge granite slab table thatÂ stands in the same place under the giant pecan trees where the wind never ceases to blow which is great on a hot summer day but not so much in the cool February with snow melting on the ground. That table made such a grand stage when it wasn’t being used to cut open watermelons, serve the homemade ice cream from, or host the covered dish familyÂ reunionsÂ in theÂ spring, summer, and fall seasonsÂ with all the extended family gathered around. Just across from the picnic table was where the main house stood. WeÂ determined where the fireplacesÂ were and both recalled how they had a ledge of brick and mortarÂ that made a great place to play or climb if no adult was watching.
We began to amble through the yard and remembered this or that and came upon the place where the dairy barn used to stand. Attempting to recall the dairy barn orientation that stood no more was a bit more difficult until we located the foundation.Â We remembered standing at the door climbing up the gate with our feet stuck through the round holes of the gate and resting our arms on the top bar watching the cows being brought in for milking. It was a sight to behold as the large animals would calmly walk in and take their place without a fuss. The one structure though that has the most memories, remains standing, and almost looks just like we both remembered is the hay barn.Â
That hay barn holds many fine memories burned into my heart of the fun we had as children playing in that barn. Our granddaddy, uncles, and older cousins would stack the square hay bales in the top of that barn to store and to us as kids they were like life-sized building blocks. We would climb, build, and jump. The jumping was the best part. We would climb up to the tallest stack and jump sliding down into the hay. Now as I recall no one thought, at least the male adults, that there was anything neat or fun about what we were doing as they insisted we torn the hay bales apart. As I look back I am sure Â we did tear those bales apart but as kids we thought it was the best and oh the fun. When we had done about as much damage as we could to the bales or more truthfully until the adults curtailed our fun we would then commence to jumping out of the hay loft doors down to the ground below.
I am three years younger than my cousin and was a bit on the skinny side and considered sickly by the family but that didn’t stop me from following right along with this daring grand plan. My memories of this event recallsÂ the distance from the top of the loft to the ground below quite frighteningly high as we would stand on the upper level and look down before calculating our jump. We had to think carefully about the jump as the ground below was uneven because the cows would walk in and out of the barn and often water would collect from the rain in their hoof prints so you really had to plan your landing strategically for that reason as well as for their seemingly active bodily functions that they carelessly left lying around.
The men working around the farm, if they were paying attention to us, would occasionally comment that we better be careful and not get hurt but they didn’t really stop us unless we were in their way and so we would jump, then race through the barn and up the stairs to prepare for our next Â jump and then repeat over and over until our grandmother decided she needed to check on us and then well you can imagine the fun stopped right there! It was way too dangerous; we could break our leg, neck,Â or something. Oh the grandÂ memories of that loft and a fewÂ not so pleasant like the memory of the yellow jacket nest but I will save that for another time.
Last weekend though as I stood on the ground below the loft doors looking up memories flooding back I thought it didn’t seem so high and in fact it really wasn’t very high at all. I commented this to my cousin who looked up with me and he said it doesn’t seem so high now but boy it sure did then.
He was so right then was the perspective of a child but now we are grown adults and what seemed so high then is now seen from a different perspective. Peace is that way. It is all in your perspective of how you are viewing it and where you are at when you are viewing it. Jesus offers us the gift of peace but it is peace from a different perspective not an earthly perspective but a heavenly one. Our focus verse this weekÂ comes from John 16:33;
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (NLT)
Perspectives of Peace seen from the Kingdom’s Storehouse
Christ spoke these words to the disciples during the last supper he shared with them.Â He knew what they would face but He also knew that the victory would be His and ultimately theirs and ours through belief in Him. This is peace through a different perspective, a kingdom perspective. We must see and seek peace through the terms of eternity not the troubles we have here on earth. He clearly tells us that He is with us and that whatever we face we should have courage because of His terms the terms of eternity.
We all know people, perhaps even ourselves, who are constantly looking for peace. They spend copious amounts of money trying to find it through vacations, health practices, food, and material items but the peace they are looking for doesn’t exist here and sadly they will never find it. They may find temporary happiness or fulfillment but once the time extends from the vacation, the health practice never ends and just becomes monotonous, the food consumed, and the material items wear out they are on the quest again for peace. If we want to find peace we must see peace from a different perspective, the perspective of eternity given to each of us as a gift. Jesus tells us in John 14:27;
I am leaving you with a gift ”“ peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a peace the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (NLT)
This gift of peace is given to us through the Holy Spirit. It is clearly explained that we will not find this peace here but we have it and it is ours through eternity all we have to do is accept the gift. This perspective of peace is not the perspective that our instant world wants today with immediate relief but through our faith we can find peace for what Jesus has done for us for our salvation. Paul writes about this in Romans 5:1;
Therefore since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (NLT)
Â Perhaps our ancient Greek friends had it right when they termed the meaning of peace as undisturbed. We can all be undisturbed about our future through our faith in Christ Jesus. The victory is really ours because Christ loved us. (Romans 8:37) Do we have problems, oh yes; some of us seemingly more so than others but then again that depends on whose perspective you are looking from, yours or theirs.Â We are not promised freedom from trouble on earth in fact our verse this week states right the opposite there will be ”trials and sorrows” but with that promise comes a greater one the promise of peace through eternity. We will defeat this world full of it problems and evil and this victory is through our faith. (1 John 5:4)
The song ”Don’t Worry, Be Happy” composed and performed by Bobby McFerrin became a huge hit in 1988 and although it was not written from a Christian perspective implication is seen.
Here’s a little song I wrote You might want to sing it note for note Don’t Worry, Be Happy In every life we have some trouble But when you worry you make it double Don’t Worry, Be Happy”¦
The Christian believer can take these words a step further don’t worry but pray and find the peace you seek because God is in control. Â (Philippians 4: 6-7) Don’t worry seek peace through prayer. There is trouble here on earth but assurance of perfect peaceÂ through eternity is seen through a different perspective. The only way to find peace on earth is to know that earth is just a temporary place. We can take our worries to God and know that He is in control and there we will find the peace we seek for we changed our perspective from an earthly one to a kingdom one.
May you be blessed with peace through God this week and for the weeks to come by changing your perspective with the power of prayer to the kingdom perspective.
Love in Christ,