Saturday, July 11, 2020
One Piece at a Time
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.
Words of Grace For Today
God gives strength to the people of God’s Kingdom and blesses them with peace.
Peace is much more than the absence of conflict, and can enfold conflict as well. That seems contradictory, since we’ve ascribed the world’s application of peace (the absence of conflict) to God’s promises.
Caught in a war zone, literally or figuratively, one yearns for the end of conflict. Truth is the first casualty of war, then MIA are the children and the vulnerable. When the conflict starts to eat at one’s being, one’s conscience and heart, then one yearns for an end of the hostilities. Any other option, other than capitulation, would be welcomed by most reasonable people.
God’s promises are not about the absence of hostilities, though God surely is not much taken by our fighting. God’s promises are about peace. The kind of peace that surpasses all understanding, that guards our hearts and minds.
When we live with that kind of peace, then we approach the conflict that leads to open hostilities and killings differently, with hope. We approach the conflict that tears families apart differently, with empathy. We approach the conflict that tears communities apart differently, with compassion. We see that God never promised anyone the lack of challenges in life, one constant challenge being conflict. Conflict is an essential part of life. When there is more than one person involved, there will be conflict, or someone is being dishonest. Conflict, handled properly, motivates one to hope, empathy, and compassion for the other, and if one can operate with collaboration then one works for the other’s best interest, trusting they are working for yours.
The quick example is the poverty captive couple who each sacrifice their best in order to give to the other what the other would most treasure. She sells her beautiful long hair to buy him a chain to match his gold heirloom pocket watch. He pawns his grandfathers’, fathers’, and now his golden pocket watch to get her the jade hair combs she has adored in the shop window.
What is instructive from this example is that each cares for the other by giving what the other would most want. More importantly, though each ends up with combs without hair, and a chain without a watch, they end up with what is most valuable and cannot be taken from them: their love for and devotion to each other. With that they will face all challenges together, and even if they lose everything else, they will have each other.
That kind of love is why God created us!
God’s promises promise us that kind of love from God, which gives us an enduring peace which nothing can take from us. We know we are right with God, not dependent on what we do, but as a gift given to us, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so that, marked with that cross, we can face whatever life brings to us.
That is real peace.
That is the kind of peace that does not require an education to receive from God. That is the kind of peace that ordinary and not so ordinary people can all receive from God. Even well educated people can receive it from God.
So no matter your circumstance: may God’s peace be with you.
Bearing God’s Peace is kind of like wearing a mask because of Covid 19. It does not benefit you directly, but helps protect others from you – which indirectly protects everyone, including you.
Wear a mask because Covid 19 exists, bear the Peace of God because the Devil is always active in and around us all. They protect others from what you could infect them with that would destroy their lives.
God’s peace always brings life with it.