(This blog is written by an F&M Student who is part of our Veritas community and when I saw it I knew it needed to be shared.) What an elusive word. What a powerful--but elusive--word.
Even now as I'm trying to describe it words escape me. There was a time when I thought I knew what peace meant. There was a time when I glided blissfully through life in my rediscovered faith, with the deepest, most intimate knowledge of peace that "surpasses all understanding."
Confession: I don't feel that anymore.
I think I used to operate under the implicit assumption that being a Christian would allow me to cruise through the pain and suffering of life as if I were above them. Like, the Spirit of God would shield me from that or something, desensitize me and dose me with unlimited peace and joy instead. I thought I'd be able to forgive easily because I wouldn't feel pain and anger as deeply. I thought I'd be able to come to terms with my past because it wouldn't matter as much anymore. I thought my faith in God's promises would be so strong that it would not discourage me when I saw the world so, so far away from that hope.
Turns out that's not the case at all.
They say he is the Prince of Peace. And yet sometimes I wonder how much of that peace he actually experienced for himself, even. How could he, knowing full well the depth and breadth of the brokenness of every human being and the world, still walk in that? The two seem incompatible for a heart that has experienced only one or the other at a time.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Today, as I flounder in my own spiritual, relational, and emotional brokenness and continue to feel burdened and exhausted by the hatred, fear, and violence of the world, I'm starting to think that engaging in peace-making is just as much a part of experiencing the Lord being at hand as actually seeing that reality. Engaging in peace-making confronts you with the reality that there is so little peace, and so much left to be desired of this world. And yeah, I guess I could try to ignore all of this in my pursuit of feeling the blissful calm I used to feel.
But maybe what God really calls his people to do is to seek Him while practicing peace, not seeking him just to feel "peace".
I want to believe so strongly that the peace promised by my God is something larger than selfish naivete. I want to hope for a peace that means something beyond quarantined, desensitized psychological well-being.
I am ever restless. But maybe that's not a sign of disobedience or spiritual immaturity that I guilt-tripped myself into believing.
Maybe restlessness is the actual way to true peace.