I wrote this message for the third Sunday of Advent - Peace Sunday
We long for it, but never really experience it completely. Someday we will, and we look forward to that day. We have moments in life that we touch it briefly … But often these are just fading moments that pass like a beautiful sunrise or sunset, ...And then life moves on… much too quickly… and the moment is gone. We take vacations to find it, but for some it never really comes. And for others it seems as if they always have it. What we truly long for … is peace.
When I was younger and under a lot of stress… operating a dairy farm. Some days I wanted my world to just stop pushing me forward. Everything in my life was moving faster and faster, … I had trouble keeping up … I wanted a break. A day to just sleep in, a day of rest, a day with no bills to pay, …no expectations placed on me, no deadlines to meet, just a little peace and quiet.
Occasionally, I would drive the tractor out to the back of the farm and hide from everyone… But I knew that as soon as I returned home everything that I had neglected to do would still be waiting for me. The thing about dairy farming was that the chores always had to be done …everyday… milking every morning and every night… the same routine … Day in …day out… it never ended.
I loved it and I hated it! I longed for peace… sometimes I found it briefly… and then it was gone.
I spent most of my time fixing things… making due… hoping that tomorrow would be better than today… wanting do overs… surviving. … and the peace I sought eluded me. I envied others who could just get up and leave, take vacations, carve out time for their families, get involved in the community, …while I worked harder and harder with nothing to show for all of my effort. PEACE was just a dream that I sought but didn’t really find.
And God’s promise of peace seemed artificial, unrealistic, and unobtainable. …Yet, because it came from God, I knew in my heart that it was available and meant for me. I was looking for emotional or physical peace.
God’s peace is spiritual peace.
Often we hear people talk about peace… world peace… the end of fighting or wars or conflicts or hunger or homelessness or abusive relationships. These are all the result of sin. In the world, as long as Satan still roams and sin is running its course, we will continue to have all of these things. Godless people will do godless things to hurt or harm others because they are by nature sinful and unclean. They live loveless lives and follow after Satan, who has NO love in him. They live for themselves, show very little mercy, and have no concept of peace.
I often acted out in anger, as a godless person, hurting those around me, because of the sin within me, … and I had a hard time of receiving God’s forgiveness because I had trouble believing that He could forgive me. I sought emotional peace, but because I continued to carry the burden and guilt of my sin, the load within me became heavier and heavier, and that peace I sought became more and more distant from me… more fleeting… and out of reach.
One day I hit bottom… I had been trying so hard to make my life right but to no avail… I was spent… physically… emotionally… and spiritually spent ! I cried to God because I had nothing left. He heard my prayer.
He said, “Trust ME! I AM ENOUGH FOR YOU!”