Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Peace is Possible

By Brenda Black

While remembering the tragedy and terror of 11 years ago, we are freshly reminded again this week in a new and offensive way just how far we have not come, and how old wounds never heal if they keep being ripped open and salt poured on them. As much as I'd like to lash out at the heinous violence that cut such a deep gash in our American soul and has continued to stab her heart for more than a decade, I'll refrain. As much as I'd like to rebuke the ignorant methods we've employed to secure safety since 2011, I'll keep my mouth shut. As much as I'd like to rant about the political ignorance that whittles away at our worldwide credibility and here on U.S. soil, I won't. Anyone with half a brain and one crossed eye can see hate and ignorance. No need for a spotlight or a commentator.

Neither will hateful acts the world over cease until there is perfect peace. Don't go looking for it as a result of puny, ill-timed and insulting apologies. Don't think it will arrive on the tails of brutal force. Peace may be sought and prayed for, but it will not come in a world that forsakes the true God of Peace – Jehovah God

It has been estimated that out of 3,530 years of recorded history, there were 286 years of peace, 14,351 of war and 3.64 billion people killed. More than 8,000 "peace" treaties were made and broken. That's a pretty lousy platform on which to place the possibility of long-term peace here on earth. For, most certainly, the numbers have increased abundantly on the war and death side since these figures were documented.

Why no peace? People have forgotten Jehovah Shalom “The Lord is Peace.” As Jehovah-jireh, God provides redemption from bondage. As Jehovah-rophe, He heals sicknesses and sorrows. Jehovah-nissi is our banner of victory, but we suffer defeats because we turn our back on Him. When we deny the power and provision of God Almighty, we lose our peace and we lose our liberty.

The One True God alone can heal the broken hearted. He is the God who sees and the God who cares. We cried out to Him when the Twin Towers fell. We pulled together as a grieving nation and professed sweeping faith in Jesus...for a little while. Then we went back to our wicked, self-centered ways. And lately, it seems with an arrogant vengeance, we shout out “NO!” to having God in our lives at all!

Still, He waits, longing to rescue us and deliver peace if only we would trust Him and obey. Ironically Psalm 9:11 begins “Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.” It continues through verse 20: “For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted. O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may declare your praises in the gates of the Daughter of Zion and there rejoice in your salvation. The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God. But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish. Arise, O Lord, let not man triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. Strike them with terror, O Lord; let the nations know they are but men.”

This passage in Psalm ends with a musical term“Selah,” which means to give pause and think. So think about this: Peace will not come through murderous intolerance. It will not come to one who is indifferent. Peace is not possible apart from the Holy Spirit living in the hearts of men, convicting them of sin.

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace...” (Romans 8:5-6)

For years, I've prayed over my sons a blessing that ends “May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” And to you who read this column today, I give you a blessing as well: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23a)

He's our only chance, our only hope, our only peace in a world defiled by hate.

copyright 2012 - The Word's Out - Brenda Black

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