“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
I had intended on having this post up days ago, but I honestly didn’t know how to write about being a peacemaker when the only emotion I was feeling was anger; anger at the depravity of those who committed the Boston bombings, anger at the lack of journalistic integrity in reporting the facts, anger at those in authority who refuse to answer questions they don’t want to deal with. Frankly, instead of acting as an agent of peace, my initial response is to raise a ruckus with my words. I’ll be honest. I want to tell people off, shout from the mountaintop all the injustices I see in both the Christian and non-Christian world. And while I’m at it, I want to make sure God knows that I’m not happy and not having fun. And as long as I’m being so bold, I need Him to know that I’m mad at Him.
As is usually the case, the disciple I relate to the most is Peter, and not the part of Peter that Christ built His church on. Oh no. I’m talking about the Peter who spoke first and asked questions later, who acted on impulse without thinking. The one who cut off the ear of the soldier as he was about to take Jesus away. I would have done the same thing. Imagine Peter’s frustration. Even though he’d been told that this moment would come, that following Christ would be difficult and often unfair, that because of his sin and the sins of the whole world this soldier would drag him off ushering in the beginnings of what would be a long several hours, it still frustrated him to the degree that he took action and not the right kind. I’m sure the flurry of emotion and activity got to him, and he snapped.
How in the world are we suppose act peacefully in a violent world? How do we get our kids to buy into this idea of being someone who seeks peace, despite the situation, rather than succumbing to antagonistic tendencies? The only answer I can come up with is based on a conversation I had with a dear friend and one backed up by Scripture. There is no way to deal with injustices, frustrations, hurt feelings, anything negative without trusting God with all of it; trusting that He knows about whatever it is that’s got our knickers in a stitch, trusting Him to take care of it His way, trusting Him when He says that someday everything will be made right. Really, some days all we have to fall back on is simple trust, and for me that remains one of the most challenging things. But God doesn’t ask something of us He can’t provide, and He doesn’t expect us to give something we don’t have.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7, NIV).
I’ve always thought that the saying “the joy is in the journey” was a bunch of bunk. Just get me to the destination, already! But if we would allow ourselves to rest in the sovereignty of God, the journey would be much smoother, and we would be better agents of peace. Not only that, but peacemakers are called children of God. It’s another chance to make God famous in the chaos. Everything around us is falling apart, but if God’s children aren’t it would speak volumes to the world. Not everyone would listen and respond positively, but some would. Some would take a second look and wonder where we got our peaceful outlook, not a Pollyanna happiness that everything is alright, but a genuine belief that everything will be alright, and that Someone’s got it all under control.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (I Peter 3:15a, NIV).
Thank you that you see everything. Nothing is a surprise to you. Thank you that you do not ask of us what you will not provide. Help us to be peacemakers, to seek it above everything else, to die to our entitlements so that peace can not only live in us but also flourish spilling out to those around us. And please comfort the people of Boston, Lord we pray.