March 21-22, 2020
Peace, the Great Healing Elixir
On a day during one of our last winters in Pennsylvania, I was working hard at the office when it started snowing. Martine was out shoveling the driveway because she has an obsessive belief that any snow on the driveway must be immediately removed, otherwise, all our thousands of visitors might slip and fall, or worse yet, think we were lazy, inhospitable hosts. She is a hard worker and she did do a great job. But unfortunately, she seriously injured her rotator cuff.
The pain didn’t go away and started to interfere with many of her activities. Using her arm for almost any task made the situation worse. She then tried rest, but that had minimal benefit. Putting those inflamed tendons to work while engaging in a “pleasurable activity” that she thought would help her feel better, just worsened the injury and added more pain. Of course, she waited much too long before seeking real medical attention, even though she’s a nurse and I’m a doctor. The doc told her the tendons in her shoulder were swollen and inflamed. After some massage and a stimulator, she experienced a lot of relief, her shoulder became stronger, and she was able to get back to most of her activities without limitation.
We do the same thing with our psychological injuries. I think it’s safe to say that most people, actually, let me say it with more strength, ALL people, are “the walking wounded” in the spiritual sense. Of course, the wounds and injuries vary in severity. But we all carry wounds around with us, and all of them bring some degree of pain. We try to escape the pain in some good ways, but also in some not-so-good ways. Each of us is addicted to comfort and peace, so our individual escape hatches run the gamut of addictions and other earthly pleasures and distractions … some healthy (exercise, our kids), some benign (hobbies or games), and some dangerous (spending, substances, porn, food). But engaging in anything too frequently or apart from God will eventually and surely become harmful to us.
Unfortunately, our pain level often goes from bad to worse as we search for comfort through these knee jerk reactions, escapes, or misguided decisions. It’s the proverbial vicious downward cycle. We have a painful wound and want to relieve it. But in our impatience we don’t handle it well. The pain and impatience impair our assessment of effective options. Then we make a wrong decision by picking a poor quick fix option. When the consequence of that decision results in more discomfort, we become even more impatient, try to relieve it the wrong way, and the cycle repeats.
The special ingredient or ultimate elixir we need to stop this hurtful cycle is an injection of God’s peace. The promise of true and lasting peace is abundant throughout The Holy Bible. An antonym for peace is uproar, a highly emotional state. And while emotions are a very effective warning system, they really impede and distract us from making good choices. Making decisions when we are highly emotional usually brings wrong choices, which only increase the inflammation and pain we experience. That’s why doctors are not allowed to operate on their own kids.
Today, reflect back on some decisions that you regret … what kind of emotions pushed and prompted your decision-making? Do you think your decision-making would have been different if you had accessed God’s powerful Peace in the midst of that stressful situation? How and why? In order to access His peace, you have to look in the right places. Unfortunately, we usually look in the wrong places. Seek and accept the peace promised by your Lord before you make any important decisions. The difference will determine your fulfillment in this life. Whether you look in God’s direction for peace or you look towards a worldly, manmade object for peace is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I am so thankful for Your power. I know, Lord, that the very same power that controls creation and raised Your Son from the dead is available to me. Infuse me, Father, with Your Holy Spirit, the Spirit that Jesus called the Great Comforter, so that I may experience peace at all times and especially during the storms of life. I know your peace isn’t in a bottle of alcohol, another sweet, pornography, gossip, or the other areas I turn to. Help me seek Your word, Your instruction, Your presence, Your refuge, and Your people to find peace. I pray this in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on You. Isaiah 26:3