One thing I am learning through the trials: Enjoy the peaceful nows. Tomorrow, or yesterday, the previous hour or the next minute may have trouble. I might even see the possibility of real trouble in the future, but if there is no trouble right now, I’m learning to enjoy that. To enjoy the peaceful now. The moments when everything is ok, at least for now. Those are the “peaceful nows” I am finding scattered here and there among the trials and tribulations of life. And though I wish they were numerous and extended, perhaps the very fact that they are not has been a major part of teaching me to relish them more when they do happen. No matter how far between and fleeting they are, enjoy the peaceful nows.
It’s another snow day in Atlanta. This one caught some people by surprise. The roads are an icy mess. It all started yesterday about mid-day when, as the snow began to fall, people watched from their office windows, waiting anxiously for the word to abandon the office and head for home. For many, the word came too late. A big city full of people all headed home at the same time. With accidents collecting on the roads just about as fast as the snow and ice, the situation soon turned to complete gridlock. Millions of people were trying to get home or to their kids at school, but nobody was going anywhere.
Interstates became icy parking lots, packed so tightly with cars that salt trucks could not even get through to do their job. People abandoned their cars and took shelter in nearby grocery stores, sleeping in aisles. Some children had to spend the night at school, others spent the night in a school bus. People are stuck at work. People are stuck at school. People are stuck on the road. And some people, are stuck at home.
As is the case with most things in life, it’s all about where you’re coming from, where you are, and where you are going. I am one of the fortunate ones who made it home from work yesterday afternoon. The office is closed today and I am stuck at home. At home, the snow is beautiful. At home it is warm. At home, it is quiet and peaceful. This winter snow, like other things in life, is either a trial or a blessing, depending on where you are. And if God is with you, no matter where you are, you are always home.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
Peace and piece can’t get along very well. If God doesn’t get your whole heart, you end up with a hole in your heart.
I hope this post doesn’t sound too “preachy.” It is something that has been on my heart and although I mentioned it in my post about the Haiti trip, I find myself feeling the need to unload my heart just a little bit more. So, here it is. Read or ignore, but at least I have gotten it out. I’ll be glad to post scripture references if someone wants them… but many you can find just by doing a search for “peace” in your bible.
Lately I have been thinking about peace and it’s relationship to humility. Lest I disprove my own point, I will say that I could be wrong, but personally, I am convinced that you can not have peace without humility. I’m not talking about happiness. In fact, I think if you are determined to find happiness, you are destined to never find peace. After all, it is the ultimate act of self service to demand your own happiness. Peace is predicated on humility. You can never have it while concerned with self; while things are under your control.
Things that drain my peace all begin with “I” or “My.” My feelings are hurt. My rights are challenged. I am afraid things may not turn out the way I want. I might be embarrassed. I might lose it all. Real peace comes when you give up the “I” altogether. When you are crucified with Christ. When, as Peter wrote, you “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God . . . casting all your care upon Him.”
If it is your life, then you must fight for it. If you have given it over to the one who controls the universe, then you can relax. Jesus himself is our peace. Through His humble death on the cross the Prince of Peace has reconciled sinful man to a holy God. This is the Gospel of Peace in a nutshell. If you are a Christian, then you are not your own. You were bought with a price. The same Jesus who humbled himself to a death on a cross is the same Jesus who said “My Peace I give to you.”
All of this is not to say there won’t be trials. There most certainly will be. But if you can humble yourself enough to place everything, including yourself and your rights, under “the Mighty Hand of God” then you can accept whatever comes your way as under His sovereign control. Sure you may have to fight, but not for yourself. You are already His. On His cause alone should we focus our efforts, leaving the outcome to Him. Then as Paul said, we can have contentment in whatever state we find ourselves, realizing that to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
The Kingdom of Peace awaits. But we must be willing to give up our rights, humble ourselves and cast our cares on Him. Only then can we truly let Peace rule.
We woke up this morning to 6 inches of snow. For many people, that’s not a big deal. For folks in Atlanta GA, it’s a big deal. We don’t often see that much snow, and when we do, it causes a major disruption in lifestyle.
In Georgia, we’re really not prepared for snow. Our fleet of “snow plows” consists of a few sad dump trucks with a blade stuck on the front. Thus, the roads quickly become an icy mess. Six inches of snow means just about everyone stays home because it’s just too dangerous and / or difficult to drive. They talk about it on the news for hours on end. They even cancel schools at the prediction of snow. All because it’s way out of the Southern “comfort zone” and we are just not prepared for it.
You really can’t blame us for not being prepared. Some things are just not worth the trouble. Would it really make sense for Atlanta to buy a fleet of snow plows just so they could be used for a few days every decade? I think not.
So what is there to do on a snowy day in Atlanta? We just go with the flow. Write in a blog, sled down the hill, throw a few snow balls with Sam, make a snow angel, and be grateful for a peaceful, quiet, beautiful day at home. On second thought, maybe we are ready to deal with the snow. Perhaps I could use a few more snow days. Or maybe, I just need a bunch more days of living the “snow day” way.
Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and maidens; Old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.
– Psalm 148:7-13 NKJV