Where are the Possibilities of Peace?
Today, we seek the possibilities of peace, as we celebrate the 4th of July in the United States, the birth of the Nation’s Independence. We celebrate amid the conflicts of society of the last few weeks, the monumental Supreme Court decisions of finalizing Obamacare and same-sex marriages, racial tensions with the horrific church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina and other situations across the states, the Tunisia terrorist attack, ISIS, and the closing of the Greek Banks to prevent collapse. The world seems in a mess and the conflicts and controversy in our own country appears to be not much different, so are there possibilities of Peace, amid it all?
The problems seem to stem from conflicts, disillusions, and power. Some clearly wrong and others very gray in understanding; yet people are quick to take to opinions whether they are knowledgeable or not, and in turn, peace appears to become muddled if view-able at all. This creates a greater separation of understandings, just like oil and water.
The magic of oil and water has it place and is full of interest. Just ask the group of elementary students, I worked with this past week. They created beautiful artworks, using oil pastels and then painted over them with black tempera paint, a water-based product. The result was; they saw how the paint would not cover and hide their work but enhanced it with beaded jewels of depth and interest. They were so excited to watch the phenomena occur. Can we love a country or world that separates us like oil and water? Can peace possibility be found in the mix of the two?
J.B. Priestly quotes, ”We should behave toward our country as women behave toward the men they love. A loving wife will do anything for her husband except stop criticizing and trying to improve him. We should cast the same affectionate but sharp glance at our country.” The key to the possibilities of peace, perhaps rest not in the demand of forcing the mix of the oil and water, but in love, through accepting both products. It will only be through love that the truth speaks and acceptance can occur. Are there possibilities of peace to be found in the complicated combination of problems and conflicts?
Many years ago, a wealthy man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied his vision, he announced a contest, to produce a masterpiece that exemplified peace. The challenge of the competition stirred the magical imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally, the day of revelation arrived. The judges began to uncover one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tension in the room grew in anticipation as the remaining two pieces of art stood veiled.
A judge pulled the cover from one, as a hush fell over the room. There stood a painting of a butter smooth lake reflecting lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. On the grassy shore, there was a flock of sheep grazing undisturbed. The spectators in the room felt that surely, this is the winner. The wealthy man with the vision though, continued to move to the last painting and unveiled it himself, as the crowd gasped in surprise. They asked themselves, could this be peace?
The painting showed a thundering waterfall cascading down a rocky cliff; the crowd could almost feel the cold, penetrating spray as it bounced off the precipice. There were stormy-gray clouds threatening to explode with lighting, wind, and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a small and spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. There on the little branch, just in the elbow of a twig, a small nest from a bird, stood firm. She sat content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, as she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested complete peace that transcends all earthly turmoil. The possibilities of peace amid conflict, secure in the painting.
We too, have the possibilities of peace, amid the messes of our nation and the world. ThisÂ week’s focus verse assures us of peace amid the trouble. The Holy Spirit gives us this peace; it is a peace that can’t be found anywhere else. It is a peace that is lasting and survives deeply in the midst of conflicts and strife. This is a peace that is found only with God and given to us through Christ. A peace that is full of confident assurance in any circumstance, as it surpasses the fear and anxiety of the present and the future. It is the peace of knowing that God is in control and that there is a destiny opportunity for each of us, for accepting the gift of Jesus.
True everlasting peace is a possibility, but it only comes from and can be found with God. No matter what is going on in our immediate world or the world at large, if Christ is beside us there is peace among the turmoil. The gift of peace though is only found through Christ and not the world or its holdings. There is no place, pill, or person that can provide deep and everlasting peace.
Fear, worry, and anxiety are the results of conflict in a fallen world; they are the oil to the water of peace and they do not mix. There is another answer though and that is through the acceptance of Christ, there the oil can lie next to the water remaining separate but with His gift of peace. We must accept the gift and become like the little bird and manifest complete peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.
I am leaving you with a gift ”“ peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (NLT)
Finding the Possibilities of Peace
Laying down anxiety, conflicts, and fear is far simpler to say, than to do. This is a peace that can be counted upon, if you are willing to put your trust fully in Christ and stop looking for peace through the world. The exchange is simple and clear, requiring you only to place your burdens down at the cross, refusing to hold on to their unhelpful comfort, and instead lean heavily on the peace given to you by your relationship with Christ. As you depend on God to relieve your fear and supply peace, there are also some actions you can do to align closer to Christ and help you fully commit to trusting God. Â Duke University did a study some years agoÂ on ”Peace of Mind”. These adapted actions transcend into today’s culture and aligns with God’s principals.
- Get rid of suspicion and resentment of others ”“ Begin with getting rid of grudges against people, groups, or situations. See things from God’s view point. Speak the truth through love and not conflict.
- Do not live in the past ”“ A preoccupation with old mistakes and failures will lead to consistent anxiety and possible depression. Allow the saying, ”Let go and Let God” to become your personal catchphrase.
- Stop Fighting ”“ Stop fighting over things you can’t change. It wastes your time and energy. Cooperate with life and secure your relationship with God.
- Force yourself to stay involved ”“ Get rid of the temptation to withdraw from the world and become reclusive. Be very diligent and consistent in sharing the love of Jesus with everyone you meet.
- Refuse to drown in self-pity ”“ Christ didn’t promise us a trouble-free world for knowing Him, He promises a trouble-free eternity. Ask yourself, which will last longer?
- Be committed to the teachings of Christ ”“ Look for virtues; find love, humor, compassion, and loyalty.
- Do not expect too much of yourself ”“ God does not expect you to take on the world nor does He need you to ”fix” the world. Use the abilities He gave you to serve and honor Him to your full capacity. Allow God to work His plan.
- Remember that God is Supreme”“ He is the Almighty and not you. Egotistical people score the lowest in any test for measuring happiness.
When you trust in God by accepting Jesus, the Holy Spirit can fill you with the peace of Christ. The stronger your relationship with Him, disallows anxiety, conflicts, and fear to creep up on you or hit you square in the face. You will then hold in your hand, the lifeline of Christ to call upon, relieving fears, and supplying peace. The possibilities of peace are endless for the taking.
So celebrate in our Nation today and lay down your fears in exchange for peace, because there is great freedom to be found. Columnist, Georgia Anne Geyer, once said, ”Great moral societies, built upon faith in God, honor, trust, and the law blossom because they are harmonious; because people love or at least respect their fellow-man; because finally, they have a common belief in something beyond themselves. It simplifies life immensely; you do not waste and spend your days fighting for turf, for privilege, for money and power over your fellow-man.” It all boils down to love, without love the possibilities of peace do not exist. Look to the supplier of love; God, and allow Him to take the burdens of the world and exchange them for the endless possibilities of Peace.
God has revealed the way through Christ; see the true path to the freedom of peace. May God bless America with His grace. Celebrate our Nation with full gusto, but know your true citizenship, remember where your real home is; and the truth lies, because there you will always find the never-ending possibilities of Peace.
Happy July 4th!
With Love in Christ,
It is said;Â that the Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
CreditsÂ Painting of Peace Story - Berit Kjos,Â A Wardrobe from the King, pp. 45-46.Â Georgia Anne Geyer,Â Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, pp. 23-24.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Have you found the possibilities of peace in the world today? Do you lay your anxieties, conflicts, and fears at the feet of Jesus and exchange them for peace? Perhaps you struggle to find peace amidst the turmoil of the world, are you willing to give it up to Jesus? Join us in discussion on the endless possibilities of peace found only through God and the gift given to us by Christ.