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?
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