As someone who really enjoys writing a blog and the creativity that it takes to share ideas in new and engaging ways (something that seems close to impossible for me at times), I love to read articles from others and see how they express Christian doctrines and thoughts.
Recently, I was reading a piece by Rose Schrott and I loved her line of thinking. She wrote, “I once read a story about children orphaned and left to starve during the bombing raids of WWII. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received good care. But many of these children couldn’t sleep. They were afraid. Somehow, someone offered a child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime and, finally, the child could sleep. They were reminded, ‘Today I ate, and I will eat again tomorrow.’ My story is not in the same realm as these children; I know I will eat today, and I will eat again tomorrow—probably too much, especially if a loaf of bread is involved. But I find myself longing for the same spiritual assurance as the children. Where is my hope in this gray monotony? I long for a stroke of color.”
I love that picture she painted. Just as these poor kids couldn’t sleep without assurance that they were going to eat again, so we, even as believers, are full of pent-up anxiety when we’re not convinced that God is completely trustworthy with every detail of our lives.
Think of Jesus’s words in John 16:33. He says, “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
He was speaking to the disciples who would soon be scattered in a very dark time after Jesus would be murdered. And yet He told them to be at peace…? I have a hard time believing I could follow that instruction. Jesus knew that they would see persecution, suffering, and quite possibly death, and yet He told them that they should feel courage? That would be incredibly hard for me.
Jesus is our peace. He is our shalom (or sense of peace, but not just a lack of war; rather it’s a resolution to the circumstances that even cause our conflict; a wholeness). And yet, it can be so hard to own that truth sometimes, can’t it? Why do we struggle so much with having peace?
It’s important for us to know that we don’t have shalom in Christ because there is no stress in our lives – we’ll continue feeling that. We don’t have shalom because we will feel completely whole and without struggle – all of that will persist. No, we have shalom because all of our stress and struggles resolve in Him. We have nothing that remains unsettled in Him. His love and grace will see all things made right, no matter what it happens to be.
What wrong won’t be made right in the end? What evil can overpower His goodness? What ill-will, held by whom, can do anything but crumble before His justice? He is greater than all! And that is the foundation of our flourishing!
In case you are like me and believe, at times, that you are a failure because you struggle to balance your stress… If you are like me and fear that you’re missing the point of Christianity at times because you feel a lack of peace… If you are anything but courageous 100% of the time (which is none of us, I’d wager), please know that there’s nothing wrong with you/us. Instead, feel encouraged to take that anxiety, stress, depression, hopelessness, pain, loneliness, etc., to God and wait on Him expectantly to bring you the peace of knowing that all those struggles in life will find their end in the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff