Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. Phil 4:7 (MSG)
The Absence of Struggle – Affirmation and Action Series – Part 5
AFFIRMATION ON CHAOS
Apart from being a little dramatic, I couldn’t think of a word that better captures the seasons/moments of life where stress, anxiety, decisions, fear – all the feelings – swirl around in our brains and hearts, confusing the heck out of us. Those seasons where peace seems to live only in fairy tales and not in real life.
You know what I mean. You might lie awake at night plagued by all the thoughts about all the things. You might be a perpetual list maker, writing up columns of pros and cons and sub-columns and dot points and maps and possibilities and consequences trying to find a point of peace. Or you might be avoiding it all with TV, food, drink, sex, exercise (name your poison) – we all have things we hide in.
We’re all seeking it. Both within ourselves and in our world.
It’s not something you can conjure up with an incantation: peace is lived into. It's paradoxical: You can’t work for it unless you work from it. There’s an inner peace that empowers actions of peace. Peace isn’t necessarily quiet and well-behaved; it’s not submissive and structured. It’s wild enough to live right in the middle, muck, and mess of life.
“Peace has come to mean the time when there aren't any wars or even when there aren't any major wars. Beggars can't be choosers; we'd most of us settle for that. But in Hebrew peace, shalom, means fullness, means having everything you need to be wholly and happily yourself.
One of the titles by which Jesus is known is Prince of Peace, and he used the word himself in what seems at first glance to be two radically contradictory utterances. On one occasion he said to the disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And later on, the last time they ate together, he said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
The contradiction is resolved when you realize that, for Jesus, peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love.” (1).
AFFIRMATION: I realize that peace is not the absence of struggle, but is the presence of love. I accept that the love and peace of God are not hinged to circumstance, both in my life and around the globe. I settle into shalom and commit to bringing an ongoing outward manifestation of my ongoing inner revelation.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.” Phil 4:6-7 (MSG).
Written by Lizzy Milani
(1.) “Beyond Words” by Frederick Buechner