Passing by Peace

“Finally, brothers and sisters,* farewell.* Put things in order, listen to my appeal,* agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11

When I realized I would be writing a devotional thought on peace I quickly looked up the scripture text to refresh myself. That scared me – I have learned that when I pray for growth of the fruit in me – I’m gonna be seeing a lot of fertilizer! Little did I know that would be one of the last quiet moments of my week!

Now, my week started off like most – I had my weekly ministerial breakfast meeting, then went on to an eye doctor appointment. Mid-afternoon saw me dropping off some dry-cleaning and doing a quick stop at the grocery store for dinner before heading up to the college to attend one of my younger son’s concerts. Somewhere in that day I had several phone calls to try to respond to while trying to put the dishes from the night before into the dishwasher, and running another load of laundry. Okay, it’s only 11:00 Monday night; I have plenty of time to write a devotional on peace. Guess I should clean up the “gift” the cat has left behind, and while I’m at it, it will only take a moment to mop the rest of the kitchen floor. Oh my gossshhh, its 10 minutes to 1 and I’ve got to get some sleep! That’s okay, I’ll sit down tomorrow and get it done.

Fast-forward – and I do mean FAST- it’s Wednesday evening and I am sitting still – reading, and God is talking to me. He is teaching me what peace isn’t and what peace is.

What I learned is that peace isn’t the absence of conflict; it isn’t about calm circumstances, healthy children, or being alone with our selves. Real peace is much more. You may know someone who is constantly being pulled in 10 different directions – work, an ill parent, a rebellious teenager, and home responsibilities. And yet – there is a sense of peace about her person. You may know someone facing the shadow of death – and moving through the shadow with a calm, quiet strength.

You see the bumps and bruises and storms of life do not break God’s kind of peace. True peace is like a seed planted inside each of us, waiting to grow under the right conditions. And like all plant life – you can’t make it grow. You can prepare the soil – through the friendships you cultivate and the habits you create. You can feed and water the seed – through prayer and thoughtful use of our time, energy, and resources. But in order for the fruit to grow you must have God living in you – a part of Christ planted in us.

I also learned that when Christ is living in me it is living like Christ with Pat’s skin on. Over time – through the storms and shadows of life – I’ve learned to recognize the Holy Spirit working in me, through me, and making an impact in my life.

When our older son was born with multiple birth defects, I spent a number of years being angry and frustrated – at Matthew, at God, at myself. I would cry and yell at Matt for not doing the things I wanted him to be able to do. I would sit next to Matt’s hospital bed for weeks at a time praying that God would just make him “normal” and heal him. Then one day I surrendered my son and myself to God’s will and realized that Matthew was a part of our family and that every day I had with this child was a gift. I found peace knowing that God is with me always and I was able to move into the peace of the presence of God.

So what have I learned is peace? Peace transcends life. Peace is knowing that in joy and sorrow, confusion, conflict, or suffering Christ abides in me, Christ will never abandon me, and Christ has saved me. Peace is the gift God gave us when he sent His only son as a little baby. Peace is the Spirit of Jesus’ enduring presence in my life. Peace is the promise of God that we will be reunited with Him and with all those who love Him and follow Him.

So, in this season of busyness, surrender yourself to the peace God offers through a relationship with his son, Jesus – Prince of Peace.

~ Rev. Pat


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