Thursday morning I sat and read some friends' blogs while sipping my morning tea. First I went to Considering Lilies by Amy Danielle in a post entitled "Peacemakers." They'd been studying the Beatitudes in the book of Matthew. She said:
"One of the things my mister pointed out after studying the passage was that Jesus was not speaking of worldly peace, not simply lack of conflict. He was talking about peace that comes from being right with God. So to be a peacemaker is to be one who brings his or her fellow man back into right relationship with God."
That statement is loaded with so many excellent ideas that I hardly know where to start thinking! Don't we define "peace" as simply "lack of conflict." We moan, "Oh, if only people would stop fussing with each other!" But that's not the answer. Real peace is inside, a quiet heart. Human peace never comes unless first there is real peace with God -- personal reconciliation with the God who is there. Being a friend with God. Peace with others come more easily after this.
But that's only defining "peace." Go one step further and define "peacemaker."
Making peace between my neighbors ... how futile is that, sometimes? How often have you tried to help make peace between two fighting humans, only to find that you made it worse? That happens to me a lot. I should be trying to help people find peace with God. Evidently that's a job that I can do.
The best way to spread this kind of peace is by example. Other people should see that I am at peace with God, that He is my friend, that we think alike. That I'm not fighting Him. How can I say I have peace with God and still have many conflicts with other people? It shouldn't be. Peace should breed peace.
Then I skipped over to Gretchen Joanna's blog, Gladsome Lights. And what a treasure she served up in her post today, "What Dust Can Do"! Gretchen's post is about the great value of weakness in the Christian's life, a truth that the Apostle Paul understood fully, but that we Christians commonly reject. She quotes Stephen Freeman:
"At some level, we believe that we are not saved through our weakness, but will be saved through our strength, and that the whole life of grace is God's effort to make us stronger -- never suspecting that God's grace may actually be purposefully developing our weaknesses."
That, to me, is a profound concept. We American Christians especially are guilty of glorifying inner, spiritual (or emotional, or psychological) strength. We admire the mentally virile and feel pity for the emotionally weak. We shake our heads in dismay at people who don't have the fortitude to stand up manfully under trials. I regularly hear people talk about how our devotionals, prayers, worship, and Bible study are all supposed to strengthen us so we will be strong enough to endure the trial ahead.
We, like Paul, are to be thankful for our weakness, to glory in it, to wish for it. Does this go against the grain? Yes. But only the weak people will experience the miracle of God's strength sustaining them. Strong people get no miracle except their own strength they've worked up. If you feel yourself weakening under trials, perhaps that's exactly what God wants for you -- your weakness. His strength.
Thank you, ladies, for these excellent posts. May we all ruminate on the wisdom here.