Peace is tough but essential | Faithful Living
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
August 31, 2012 · Updated 5:01 PM
“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
--William Ewart Gladstone
Starting at age 10, when I began to understand with greater clarity the world around me, I recall watching a parade of images splash across the screen of my family’s TV. They all contributed to the woman I am today. I watched bloodied young men being carried out of the jungles of Vietnam. I watched “sit-ins” on college campuses around the country. I saw Bobby Kennedy’s body fall while on the campaign trail in Los Angeles. And I watched a nation mourn the tragic loss of civil rights great Martin Luther King.
From those experiences I grew to become a child who sought peace. From my Sunday school teacher I learned that observing peace in any form is a dead giveaway that God is at work.
Peace is particularly important to me for I am by nature a peacemaker and a diplomat. I’m not energized by confrontation. Those of us who yearn for peace are particularly stressed and saddened when it disappears from our homes, neighborhoods, places of work and communities. Without peace people easily choose anger, leading to behaviors that include overreaction, carelessness and violence. As I watch international news, in particular, I often wonder what percentages of people around the world, living in war-torn communities, suffer from extreme depression? And while I have learned that strong emotion and angst can bring out the truth, press us toward better solutions, and bring out the best in us when expressed in a controlled environment, people thrive in an atmosphere of peace. They perish physically, emotionally and spiritually where there is no peace to be found.
Many times we must fight for peace. We must ask God to draw near, for where He dwells, peace enters.
Peace is achieved one person at a time, one event at a time and one day at a time. And each day, as we ask God for the wisdom to know how to fashion a peaceful heart, may we also ask Him to deflect some of our fears and selfishness, helping us to discover reactions that contribute to peace — including dignity, hope, respect and confidence. May we desire peaceful workplaces, kitchen tables and roadways.
May we ache for peace so continually that we choose observable changes in our personal behavior during times when we hold the power, rather than rationalizing that because there is war in the hearts of men and great conflict around the world, all efforts at peace are ultimately futile. Mother Theresa once explained that “if we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Let’s belong. Let’s care.
Peace can be produced even when the big picture seems fruitless. It happens when we ask God to step into our lives, to bolster our resolve, and empower our souls with courage, giving us an eternal vision for His peace in the places where we dwell, beside those we dwell.