Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Promise of Peace

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26.

I know a few people who exude peace. Most of us are giving out piece, not peace: a piece of us here, a piece of us there, as we hurry to accomplish all that we have piled on our proverbial plate.

Stress and anxiety will rob us of peace. Life’s traumas and trials will do the same. 

I have struggled since our move in 2010 to be less stressed, more at peace. Life’s circumstances have not made that very easy: concerns about those I love, underemployed, college bills to pay, and a list of other things that continue to hinder a more peaceful heart.

Peace is not something we can “work up.” A frenzy, yes; peace? Not so much.  Yet, peace is a promise, a gift, a blessing.  God desires to give us His peace and desires us to live in peace with one another. It is not God who is responsible for a lack of peace--humans are (and a devil who loves to rob us of all good gifts from God).

In my experience, true peace only comes through trusting God who is Shalom (peace). In the scripture from Numbers 6, God has told Moses that this blessing is to be spoken over the people of Israel. Israel had just suffered through 400 years of bondage in Egypt, had a miraculous though harrowing escape, and had placed their faith in God (and their leader, Moses) to lead them out to a promised land.

This blessing shows not only the character of God, but also His promise: He will bless, He will keep (protect, provide), He gives grace and care, and He gives peace (shalom) to His people. This is an unconditional blessing to those who belong to Him. This is not a promise that bad things won’t happen to His people, but a promise that He will always be present with His care, grace and peace.

He turns His face to me and sees me, loves me, even when I am struggling or even failing. Every day, He reminds me “from whence cometh my help” (Psalm 23): from Him. Shalom. 

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