War and Peace
War and Peace
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14
I’ll go ahead and tell you that this week’s post is in some ways a continuation of last week’s, Working Through an Issue.
I’ve been in the midst of a battle, a war, and it’s one that I’ve been in since we opened a prayer room, The Seed of Hope room, in our hair salon a few months ago. There has been nothing but confusion and chaos in the salon since that time. It has weighed on my mind so heavily this week that today’s post was gonna be an announcement that The Seed of Hope was finished for a while. I’m tired of writing about (and you’re probably tired of reading about) my trials and tribulations. Yet I press on, because I believe that for whatever reason, it’s what God has called me to do.
When my wife Jackie agreed with my proposal to add the prayer room, we knew that we’d be met with spiritual resistance. We figured that Satan wouldn’t be very happy about a prayer room being built in the middle of a business, and in an industry that most people consider to be, well, “not very high in moral standards.”
What we didn’t plan on was the amount of resistance that we’d face. Gossip. Lies. Deception. Theft. Unrest. It’s been non-stop; there’s been one thing after the other. So much so that during a recent twenty-one day period of corporate prayer at Church of The Highlands here in Birmingham, my petition to God for our business wasn’t for prosperity, but for His Peace.
My petitions…my pleas to Him for peace in our salon have been answered in part, but we still have a ways to go. I believe that there’s something that I have yet to learn, and the lesson isn’t about the actions of other people, but about my reaction to their actions. I also believe that the key to the peace that I so desperately want for our team is hidden away in that lesson.
Curiously enough, the battle that I’ve been in these past few weeks has been, not against others, but against me. It has been an epic battle of Me vs. Me.
There’s the Christian in me, which tells me to forgive those who may have offended me. I look back on all the times that God has forgiven me for things that I’ve done that just weren’t right, and know that I must forgive others. I think about what Jesus endured so that we all may forgiven, and know that I must forgive others. I can’t recount the number of times that I’ve recited The Lord’s Prayer, the first prayer that I learned as a child and the one that is probably the best-known prayer in Christianity. It reads And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. What I’m saying is that as a God-fearing, seeking-His-face, trying-to-walk-the-way-of-Jesus Christian, I know that I must find forgiveness in my heart for others.
Then there’s the “other” side of me, the one that’s just a man, and nothing more. I want to return hurt when I’ve been hurt, lash out in anger when I’m mad, and get even! And quite simply, I’m tired of the crap. I go out of my way not to offend anyone.
Why can’t I get the same in return?
I didn’t know how to let you know that I was interrupting the flow of this post, which is exactly what I’m doing!
I just took a look at my last statement, Why can’t I get the same in return?
Sounds kind of self-centered, doesn’t it? As a matter of fact, I’m a bit ashamed that I actually wrote it. You see, I’d like to think that I’m an exemplary Christian, that I never do anything wrong, and that I never offend anyone. It’s always my intent to aim for perfection in thought, word, and deed each and every day.
Be that as it may, I’m sure that there are many days that I fall short of those intentions. I think that many of us have a tendency to think that there’s a “severity of the offense” exemption that applies to us in the way that we treat others. For example, that going back on our word isn’t as bad as lying, or that wishing ill upon a person isn’t as bad as hitting them, or that completely ignoring a down-and-out person is somehow more justifiable than offering them help.
Yeah, there are days when I fall short….
Back to the original subject…
Okay, so here’s the deal: I’ve been in a war for several weeks, and my enemy has been me. And you know what?
Though there seems to be no end in sight, I’m gonna win this war.
You see, I’ve known for quite some time now that I can’t change people, and that I can neither control nor be responsible for what they think, say, or do. That’s a battle that knows no end.
I can however control the way that I react to the actions of other people, and I believe that the key to that control lies in keeping God in my heart at all times. That’s how I’m gonna win this war.
How can I sound so sure that I’m gonna win?
You see, I’ve already made a lot of progress. I’ve come to realize during these past few weeks of chaos that there has been something in me that has been absent in previous battles during my first fifty-six years; God’s Peace. That peace has allowed me to remain calm through the storm that’s been raging around me. I believe with all that’s in me that if I remain still, as we’re instructed to do in Exodus, that the Lord will not only fight for me, but fill me with His Peace.
I want to leave you with a verse from a song, I Will Rise, that’s written and performed by Chris Tomlin:
There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail; there’s an anchor for my soul; I can sing, It is well.
May God’s Peace be with you and in your heart.
See you next week.