by Sue Duby
I cherish calm mornings. Those precious ones. Where the first waking moments welcome a mind clear of “clutter”. No particular agitating thoughts. No anxious musing over a “to do” list. No panicked moments over key details forgotten. No burdensome worries. Just the fresh breath of a new day, inviting a heart of gratefulness and anticipation. On those days, that mystery called “peace” comes so easily. Without effort on my part, it’s just there to enjoy. Enough to even boast a bit with that childhood chorus, ”I’ve got peace like a river in my soul”!
If only every morning dawn broke forth that way! More often, the initial calm leads to a quick tumbling of thoughts and pondering. Worries about friends and family. Puzzling situations that I can’t solve. Key decisions waiting for final answers. Irritations flavoring precious relationships. On those days, that “river in my soul” is churning and racing over boulders!
During a recent few moments glancing at Psalm 34, my eyes widened.
“Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.” Psalm 34:11-13 NIV
At first, I quickly passed over familiar words and whispered to myself, “working on those things, Lord!”. The “listening”, watching my words and taking care to avoid exaggeration in my story telling.
Then, followed the fresh attention-getter:
I’ve spent years memorizing verses on peace (especially when I need it!). The ones that remind me of Him being the ruler, captain and author of peace. The One who gifts peace to us. The One who reminds us to receive His peace.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shlall be on his shoulder:
And he his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 KJV
“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
Somehow, in the journey, I missed those simple 5 words in Psalm 34:14. “Seek peace and pursue it.” They are much more than just receiving the gift He offers. Rather, instruction for steps to be taken. An invitation and request for specific obedience. My part of the bigger picture.
“Seek” means to search out, strive after or desire. An action and matter of the heart. Not simply waiting for Him to blanket my life’s moments with peace, but looking for places and ways to have my words, deeds and presence bring forth His peace. Always, by His enabling grace in my life.
“Pursue” means to chase or run after. Words painting a picture of a measure of intensity. Requiring much more than occasional effort. Purposing, with committed energy and a goal in mind. . . peace. Not only for my personal benefit, but in my journey with others.
This kind of peace is so much more than calm agreement or lack of tension. It actually means “completeness, soundness, welfare”. His heart for all of us. It’s a remarkable privilege that we can join Him in “chasing after” such peace, especially on behalf of others.
One commentary takes the challenge even further:
“Since nothing is more contrary to that love which never fails (which is the summary both of law and gospel, both of grace and glory) than strife and contention, which bring confusion and every evil work, we must “seek peace and pursue it”. We must show a peaceable disposition, study the things that make for peace, do nothing to break the peace and to make mischief. If peace seems to flee from us, we must pursue it; follow peace with all men, spare no pains, no expense, to preserve and recover peace; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal, both in honour and interest, for peace’ sake.” Matthew Henry
How often in conversations am I focused on making sure my opinion is properly understood? Desiring to “win” if tension rises in the discussion. Focused on my thoughts, rather than truly seeking to understand the words of another. Allowing irritations to build, leading to a closed heart in relationships. Not setting His kind of peace as the goal. Not being quick to seek the “completeness, soundness and welfare” of another, by laying down my perceived “rights”.
“My way” requires so much energy! Instead, if I fully trust that His way is best (even if it’s hard!), I can choose to “run after” His kind of peace. And in doing so, rest in watching His plans unfold.
While gratefully embracing the amazing gift of peace He so graciously give to us, may we be “peace seekers” in all our ways. Ones who purpose to join Him in bringing peace to our homes, relationships, work places and life moments. By His enabling grace, wisdom and strength.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone.”Romans 12:18 NIV
Whether you are praying the stations of the day, in need of resources for rest, hoping to spark joy and find wonder, or simply want to enjoy beautiful prayers, poetry, and art – our digital downloads section has many options! Christine Sine’s book Rest in the Moment is designed to help you find those pauses throughout the day. Praying through the hours or watches, you may find inspiration in our prayer cards set Prayers for the Day or Pause for the Day. You may find your curiosity piqued in the free poetry and art download Haiku Book of Hours. All this and more can be found in our shop!