What Kind of Peace Are You Looking for?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16 but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (TEV)
“No, what I meant was to wish you a good evening,” Arthur would say, or rather, used to say. He soon learned to avoid these conversations. “I mean that I hope you have a good evening,” he would add. More puzzlement. “Wish?” the Bartledanian would say at last, in polite bafflement. “Er, yes,” Arthur would then have said. “I’m just expressing the hope that …” “Hope?” “Yes.” “What is hope?” Good question, thought Arthur to himself, and retreated back to his room to think about things. On the one hand he could only recognize and respect what he learned about the Bartledanian view of the Universe, which was that the Universe was what the Universe was, take it or leave it. On the other hand he could not help but feel that not to desire anything, not ever to wish or to hope, was just not natural. (1)
One of the reason I love Douglas Adam’s five book trilogy (besides the obvious – it is a five book trilogy) is that it makes us question our thoughts and desires, and the framework in which we live and love. A great example is the passage above in blue, which I was reading this morning at breakfast.
There are times where I wonder why things cant be simple – can’t be easy and smooth sailing through life without a concern, My idea of peace – just walking down shore road at Lake Ossipee with my wife and son, pushing a stroller with the new baby. Rather than me sitting here, writing a blog, thousands of miles away from them, while the baby is at risk. Can’t anything ever be easy, simple – without a desperate desire for things to be better? Is that my expectation of heaven? A placebo of existence?
As I sit here – learning things from God, with the help of Douglas Adams and others that I am reading… I wonder.
The people Arthur Dent encountered had it made – life was a breeze – they had no desire, no hope,, everything was peaceful and idyllic on their little planer. Dent was someone who had saved the universe, sort of – been through all sorts of hell and trial. So this planet he idealized and searched for, this life of peace and contentment? Living in a situation without hope, without desire, without,Dent would discover, life. His judgement, one philsophers and poets could state, boiled down to this.
The more I consider God’s peace, the more I realize it is a peace known throughout every aspect of life, the good, the bad, the painful. It is, as Jesus tells us, a peace the world cannot give – even if we were to have a lifetime vacation in the Bahamas (or preferably Osippee, NH) The reason we treasure it isn’t because of the lacks, but in view of them, even as we walk with Jesus. This isn’t some twisted praise of pain, suffering or lack. It is instead of the realization that those situations can help build a hunger.
The question is hunger for what? Change? The kind of peace that seems desiable but sucks? Or the presence of God?
One of the other books I’ve been reading (was dared to read actually) I found these words in,
“But the most serious problem with the spirit of sadness is that it bears within itself the sin against hope. Bernanos says it well in his Diary of a Country Priest: “The sin against hope … is the most mortal of all, and yet it is the one most welcomed and honored. Much time is needed for us to recognize it, so sweet is the sadness that announces and precedes it! It is the most precious of the devil’s elixirs, his ambrosia.” IN RESPONSE TO THIS, Paul VI states: “Joy which is properly spiritual, the joy which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 14: 17; Gal 5: 22-23), consists in the human spirit’s finding repose and a deep satisfaction in the possession of the Triune God, known by faith and loved with the charity that comes from God. “Such a joy henceforth characterizes all the Christian virtues.”
A complext thought there, but one that resonates with me. It is when we lose hope, when we lose the expectation of God’s presence, that trust (faith) is deteriorated, when we stop looking to God, when we stop expecting Him to take our burdens, when we stop finding ourselves as His posession, and that we poessess their presence.
Exclude hope, and the need for it and Life changes – the desire for peace becomes a search for nirvana, a search for nothingness. Yet our hope – our expectation, our desire to be in the presence of God is what sustains us. It is what gives us life in Him, it is what builds our faith. Serenity, deep peace we can avail ourselves at in any time, any situation, Deep peace that comes – not from absence but presence. A peace that is ours, because we are in Christ.
It is when we cry “Lord have mercy…” and wait…knowing the answered will be revealed, even as it has been revealed in Christ.
(1) Adams, Douglas (2010-09-29). The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (p. 709). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
(2) Pope Francis; Jorge M Bergoglio (2013-11-18). Open Mind, Faithful Heart (p. 16). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
Posted on February 19, 2014, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged A perfect life, Douglas Adams, Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, peace, Pope Francis, Serenity, suffering, the Problem of Pain. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.