Recently I let myself lose my peace thinking about the insanity of violence going on in the world. The pain of 9-11 and the way we added to that world pain by attacking a country that had nothing to do with 9-11; the unbelievable hatred that impelled five men to kill all those people in London; a serial rapist who killed a whole family so he could kidnap two small children and use them as sex toys, then killed the young boy and would have killed the young girl when he got through with her.
At times I have thought I might be too sensitive to the pain of this world. But what good is a life where you steel yourself not to feel? How can anyone shut down normal human emotions in one area of life and continue to function with feeling with those they love?
I refuse to shut down my god-given emotional nature. I refuse to become cold and hard. If I am destined to die crying, so be it. I would much prefer that to hardening my heart.
Then I got to thinking about something Jesus said. He was hours away from a fate he knew was coming. He knew he would be unmercifully beaten, cursed and spat upon, then nailed up to slowly die on a crossbeam of wood. Yet he spoke to his dearest friends of peace. He said, “My peace I give to you.” How could a man speak of peace at such a time, knowing he would be brutalized?
You may be thinking he used his godhood to close off his fears. I do not think so. He was a feeling man. Remember how he wept when Lazarus died? Remember how Paul said, “He was tempted in all points, like as we”? Remember the verse about him being able to be touched with the feelings of our infirmities? He loved. He cared. As he was dying he asked John to take care of his grieving mother. He cared and felt his emotions to the end.
His secret is right here: “I do not give peace to you as the world gives.” The world can only feel peace when things are peaceful. Jesus tuned into a permanent source of peace. He tuned into peace Itself. He lived in peace and could die in peace. His peace was not dependent on circumstances.
That’s the peace he promises us! He said so – “My peace I give to you.” We can learn to tune into this deep, unchanging Jesus peace.
In writing a chapter of a autobiography I am starting to work on, I talked about my earliest experiences of God’s presence. When I was just a young kindergarten and elementary aged boy, I would go off alone into the deep words behind our home and listen to God’s presence. I didn’t say God’s voice. I intentionally said “God’s presence,” because God’s presence communicates more clearly than any voice. What God communicated to me when I was too young to read any sacred book was a deep peace. To this day I can meditate on those experiences and all that deep peace I felt as a small boy returns to me as clear as spring water.
In these days of violence, I am reminding myself of that peace. The world may not be at peace but we can have peace in this world. There is a peace dimension of consciousness and Jesus went there hours before his horrible ordeal began and he is able to take you there. He is our Way Shower. People talk of him as “Savior” in reference to a ticket to heaven but for me he has been a savior by showing me the way to live.
When the violence and hatred of insane people starts scribbling furiously on the blackboard of your consciousness, sink yourself completely into the peace of Jesus. He promised it to you and no power on earth can take it from you.
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