“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”â€“ Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
Part 4 (here are Parts 1, 2, & 3) dealt with the Spiritual aspect of the Biblical term â€œpeaceâ€. It is an absence of conflict with God that comes over a soul in a comforting way that can defy description. It is very much a vertical thing, God to man.
But what does that look like in the real world? Is it just some fluffy far off feel good dream? Or can it be real in our messy world?
Have you ever met anyone who seemed to always maintain their equilibrium no matter what mess the world threw at them? No matter what kind of chaos or nasty crap happened around them or to them, nothing seemed to rock their harmony? Or maybe when life shakes their foundation and knocks them down, they seem to get back up amazingly quickly?
That ability to maintain your harmony is what spiritual peace will look like. It can only come from God.
But let’s take it out of the hypothetical and look at an actual example of it in the Bible to see what it looks like. In Luke chapter 8 Jesus had had an exhausting day healing and teaching people. We’ll pick up the story in verse 22:
One day Jesus said to his disciples, â€œLet’s cross over to the other side of the lake.â€ So they got into a boat and started out. On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger.
The disciples woke him up, shouting, â€œMaster, Master, we’re going to drown!â€
So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm!
Then he asked them, â€œWhere is your faith?â€
And they were filled with awe and amazement. They said to one another, â€œWho is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?â€ (NLT)
Now a couple things stand out to me in this story. First, it was totally reasonable for the disciples to panic, after all â€œthey were in real danger.â€ Yet Jesus was so full of peace and calm during the situation that he kept on sleeping.
Now I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a storm at sea, but I have a maritime background and have. There are a couple things you’ve got to keep in mind during a storm on the water. The wind is pretty stinking loud. A boat, especially a small fishing boat of the era, tends to violently pitch and roll to point where it is hard to stand up. Oh, yeah. And it often rains. And even if it isn’t raining, there is usually enough spray blowing up that it might as well be raining.
It’s not exactly the best environment for your Sunday afternoon snooze.
Yet Jesus isn’t even ruffled by the chaos around him. He’s full of peace and sleeps on.
I find it interesting that the Bible doesn’t record what Jesus said when he â€œrebuked the wind and the raging waves.â€ Every time I’ve heard some one talk about this story and they get to that point they will yell out a big booming, â€œSILENCE!â€ at that point because after all it is God speaking and He’d be speaking with authority to be heard over the wind.
I imagine it might have been a bit different. Jesus was obviously sleeping pretty soundly. I mean you’ve got to be in a pretty stinking deep REM cycle to sleep in those conditions. I imagine when the disciples woke Jesus up what He said sounded a little more like what I might say as I reach for the snooze alarm. I think it was more of a moaning, half awake and I-really-want-to-sleep-a-little-more, â€œUhhhh, be quiet.â€
Think about it. It is God speaking. He doesn’t have to yell to be heard. Hello? He’s full of peace.
It’s kind of like when you pass a Corvette on the highway. That car can easily go 200+ MPH. Everyone knows it. Yet the driver is calmly driving at or slightly below the speed limit. He doesn’t have to prove himself. It is obvious what his car can do. You could say that the driver has sort of a â€œspeed peaceâ€ about him.
Maybe not the best analogy, but I think this gives us a better understanding of how spiritual peace plays out in our day to day lives.