We often pray for peace: peace in our world, our homes, our families and our hearts. It’s safe to say that we recognize the challenge we have to maintain a graceful, peaceful attitude, day-in and day-out! Often we are broadsided, struck down, hard, by things that make it difficult: living with serious illness, journeying with grief, working in a toxic environment, struggling in destructive relationships, dealing with challenges associated with money, holidays, family decisions, conflicts and events. But God’s peace, Shalom, is offered to us right where we are…God’s peace offers a new perspective.
There is a story about an art competition held to find the best “peaceful” painting. There were three finalists. The first picture was of a farm, complete with white fences along the roadside, a red barn and a farmhouse with friendly windows. The grass of the pasture is luscious green, with well-fed cows and sheep grazing contently. The second picture was of a beach at dawn, the sun slowly rising, rosy hues reflected on the water; no airplanes, no boats, or people, only seagulls lazily gliding on the air, effortlessly. The third picture was that of a cascading waterfall, a magnificent cataract splashing its waters down on the rocks below. And on the shore, a huge amusement park, a cacophony of noise, complete with busy casino, the six lane highway bringing thousands of people in bumper to bumper traffic, to ‘play’. Meanwhile, major expansion of the facility was obviously taking place, with blasting, and chain saws and heavy equipment and crews everywhere. Standing near that waterfall was a tree, and nestled in the branches, a bird’s nest, the mother bird sitting there watchfully, patiently, in the midst of the chaos around her. The picture was entitled, “Peace,” and that perspective won the prize.
God’s peace. God’s peace offers a new perspective, a new way of looking at the world, granting us the courage not to run away from the confusion and the conflict all around us and inside of us. God’s call is to live in it, the chaotic situation called life, and here to strive for, to work for and to find, God’s peace within and God’s peace between. God’s Shalom.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27