As I sit to compose today’s This Day Thursday on peace, only 4 feet behind me a toddler composes her own masterpiece on our piano. Dissonance, cacophony, and “poopy diaper” belted full force assault my ears. The irony is not lost on me.
Peace- Halloween is tomorrow. All Saints Day on Saturday. And with all this focus on death and fear, perhaps it seems odd to ask this day for peace. Perhaps that would be better addressed during Christmas when Peace on Earth induces warm fuzzies and songs of praise.
Maybe, but peace seems easier to come by when it seems the majority of our society is on the same page- goodwill toward all and such. Even in the hustle bustle madness, there is something to be said for radio stations that exude melodies of peace and joy and charity drives brimming over with gifts and donations.
But what about today? Where is the peace when your kids tell you they had indoor recess that sunny afternoon and you find out later it was because a boy was apprehended in a nearby town after making shooting threats at his Christian school . When you find out they were on the brink of lockdown.
Or when the bullies barge. Or when the neighbor kids reveal how much they know about things of which they should have no clue at this age. What about when I have absolutely no control over issues that could cause serious pain in my family’s life? Where is the peace?
The truth is, I chose peace first because that is what I have most recently struggled with, but also because peace lies at the root of so many of all those other things we ask for. When we ask for peace, we ask for faith. With peace comes joy, contentment, wisdom, and so much more.
But it is hard to have peace when we don’t know what comes next in the story.
The disciples felt it. In their greatest moments of faith, they thought they knew what came next. Jesus, the man they knew, the man who performed miracles no one else could do, the man they were building their whole lives upon- He would be king. And they would be rewarded. Their arguments over who would be first in His kingdom make sense when you realize they were thinking earthly stuff. Sure, He said weird things sometimes- things no one really understood- but that was part of His charm. And when He promised there would be trouble it was easy to see how He was just giving His friends a pep talk before He delivered the kingdom of Israel from their oppressors.
But then He died. And it wasn't as though they knew the end of the story. It wasn't as though they acted heroically in His defense. It wasn't as though the rulers of their people and their neighbors would be able to just forget this all happened without seeking some sort of punishment for those who followed this man Jesus. Peace was the farthest thing from their minds.
In fact, I can imagine that at every attempt to gain peace and confidence there was always a “but.”
But what if they find us?
But what if they take our families?
But what if they bankrupt our business?
But what if they hold this against us?
But what if they take our lives?
Those words of peace Jesus spoke to them before His death died with Him. His peace? If they remembered it at all what would it matter? He was dead.
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,
he will teach you all things
and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.