Peace is a tricky thing. At least, it is to me. When I’ve had a good night of sleep and the day looks promising, it is easy to go about my business with peace in my heart and a smile on my face. But when my night was not restful and my day is filled with expected or unexpected challenges, my peace flees like a wild deer and my smile vanished, leaving its place to a restless frown.
What this tells me, plain and simple, is that my peace is built on favorable, but temporary, situations. Shifting sand. Good weather. Stable at the moment, but very likely to change with a gust of wind. A shaky and unreliable foundation. Yet, this is an easy mistake for me, and it may be for you too. When life is lived in a hurry, we lose intentionality. Take the mornings, for example. Living in a hurry, we forget to drink water or have breakfast. We look like scarecrows dropping our kids off at school. We scream a goodbye instead of kissing our loved ones and, worst of all, we listen to our to-do list before we listen to our Heavenly Father. When we do that, we let chores shape our day, as opposed to our Father’s unconditional love.
Why is that a terrible mistake? Because our chores vary in difficulty and our achievement of them varies in success but God’s love for us never changes. Never shifts. Isn’t vulnerable to good or bad circumstances. It is always there, graceful and resilient. In other words, my peace is the safest safe in my Father’s hands. But why is peace tricky? Because it will only last in my Father’s hands, and it will only be there if I am intentional about it. Rush, and disordered priorities, will push me away from God and distract me into restlessness. But living intentionally will prioritize listening to my Father’s voice, instead of my phone’s, and will embrace his unconditional and powerful love, instead of the conditional love of my to do list.
The goal is to make ours Wendell Berry’s simple prayer:
When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.
When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf.
Perfect peace. Not because of favorable situations or successfully achieved goals, but because we live knowing that our Abba loves and wants us, no matter what. As lofty as this may sound, perfect peace is at hand, if only we focus on He who gives it to us.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)