War and peace

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi

I grew up terrified of nuclear war. Not just slightly concerned— terrified. I was certain that there was no stopping powerful men from sending missiles into the air and raining something much worse than hell down on millions of innocent people.

Now I am an adult and yes, the memories of The Day After (which seriously, I should never have been allowed to watch at nine years old!) still make me fret when I hear that world powers are locked in middle school era one-upmanship. Yet, like the blond-headed third grader who spent an entire summer praying that Jesus would rapture everyone before Russia blew us up, I still have frighteningly little control.

Jesus does. And I rest in that. He knows the hour, He knows the day. And no matter who the crackpots of every generation have divined since His assumption into heaven, He isn’t telling.

So what to do in the meantime?

Make peace.

War and peace

I make peace in small, insignificant ways. I am “only” a wife and mother, after all. I have no pulpit, no voice in the greater world. My words, my actions mean nothing to anyone save a small, exclusive audience here in my home. And yet, I do my best with the hours given me.

I speak peace to the four year-old who stubbed his toe on the stair. I broker peace with the pair incensed at an injustice wrought between themselves. I encourage peace in the heart of the anxious college student. I extend peace to the child whose words stung my heart. I nurture peace in the one given to frustration.

My peace isn’t played out in the headlines, and isn’t cause for celebration or dismay. It’s a word or two over a cup of tea, a hand on the shoulder in the hallway, a quite email to one far away, a gentle reproach on the couch. It’s the unseen, the quiet, the nearly invisible little rebellion I want to plant to combat the loud and wearying world outside these walls.

I am still wary of war. I must still remind myself, daily, that God’s story allows suffering and injustice for His glory. But I am purposed to be an instrument of peace here, in the space given to me. It is my service to my family, the world, and ultimately, my service to him.

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.—James 3:18

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.—Matthew 5:9

War and Peace

2 thoughts on “War and peace

  1. I find it ironic that you write that you “have no voice in the greater world” on a blog that I read eagerly from halfway around the world, waiting for the next installment and what it will speak into my life. You are an encourager, who makes the WORLD a better place.

    Today I am encouraged to look more for the moments of spreading peace, rather than be frustrated at the moments of “war.” It’s certainly a topic that we’ve discussed in our family. A couple of years ago, several children were singing happily in the car, when they suddenly broke into a loud argument which included hitting and crying and me slamming on my brakes to pull over to the side and turn and shout at them. The topic under debate? Whether the word in the song was “war” or “wars,” singular or plural. Once people had calmed down again (more through threats than through any real peace-making on my side…), one of the children asked why there are wars anyway. I told them that it’s because of one “side” thinking that what they think is more important that treating the other side the way they want to be treated. That it starts by children in a car thinking that it is worth hitting a sibling because of disagreeing about a word in a song, and that essentially, it’s never outgrowing that conviction that what “I” want is more important than peace.

    Thank you for your continuing contribution to world peace, starting at the very least today (it’s 8:30 a.m. where I am) by the fact that I will carry this post with me as we start a road trip in a few minutes.

    • What a poignant and true example of what wars really are. Your children will take that example– and your words– with them as they fly the nest and find their calling. I have no doubt they will be incredible peacemakers!

      And thank you for blessing me with your encouragement. I am delighted when God uses my words to speak to others!

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