Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Uncle Blogger

Guest Blogger-

*minor editing liberties taken by T.Livesay

By Richard Porter
written February '08

Peace and quiet are at best fleeting. Any given week in ______*(insert your town*) produces turmoil, poverty, injustice, suffering, disappointment, betrayal, and more. Occasionally these difficulties bubble into view. Even in our beautiful, blessed region where “quality of life” is undisputed, suspicions surface. Pain protrudes. Grievances grow. It’s been that kind of week.

Perhaps winter’s depth brings it out. Every year we freeze a little piece of summer, unwrapping it for Winter Games. We enjoy it. Then it melts away. Ground Hog Day seems to promise more winter again and again. Men fear the Valentine’s Day test. Lenten fasts are early this year. The President is a lame duck. The economy tanks. We hear about more lay-offs than hirings. The neighbor’s house has been on the market forever. Our national political saga toggles between ugly attack and nuanced conciliation.

Depressed yet? There was a Bible character called Gideon. Gideon’s people, Israel , were under attack. Midian was out to get Gideon. He tried to stay safe and productive by threshing grain in the recesses of a winepress. God wouldn’t let Him stay safe. An angel appeared to declare Gideon a “mighty warrior” telling him to stand for all that is right and good. Gideon caught a bad case of the “yah buts,” but as in all arguments with angels, he won by losing. He asked God to strengthen him with a sign. God showed up in ways for which polite religion has no categories. They called the meeting place “Jehovah Shalom,” meaning “the Lord is peace.” Then, possessing a new peace and quiet, Gideon ended his hiding and set out to fight injustice and unbelief. He no longer fought from fear or anger, but from quiet inner strength and settled faith.

Whatever the issue, whatever your perspective, the peace of God will serve you and your opponents. It can yield inward tranquility and outward civility. Gideon’s peace and quiet, like ours, was not found in the absence of challenge, suffering, or difficulty. Rather, God was his peace and quiet, wherever he went, whatever he faced.

Rough times are a test for us all. Do we have inner peace? Or have we settled for a substitute like managing circumstances for maximum comfort? External peace won’t last. Inner peace won’t leave. As more and more of us healthily engage the conflicts of life from deep wells of supernatural peace, some battles will be averted. Unavoidable differences can be engaged more nobly. In any case, before going to war, it is good to go to God. Wherever you go, take His peace.