I can remember when our youngest child could swim well enough that he didn’t need constant and unbroken, vigilant, parental supervision at the pool. It was awesome. Given that we have 3 children, that day brought an end to 10 years of Summer pool stress and anxiety. When you have young children, going to the pool is . . . Well, let me put it this way – I think if you gave young parents the choice of an afternoon at the neighborhood pool:
a) Alone with your friends
b) Alone with 1-3 young non-swimmer children
I’m pretty sure which one would win out!
So, I still remember enjoying, again, a long-forgotten sense of “summer-pool” peace and relaxation when our youngest became an independent swimmer. I could take a book to the pool – and read it! I could enjoy the newspaper! Never mind that, I could actually have a sustained conversation with other adults – with actual eye contact! I remember smiling, relaxing, and thinking, “This is how it’s meant to be!”
“This is how it’s meant to be” is a fundamental aspect of what God, in the Bible, means when he talks about “peace.” It’s true that experiencing peace very much necessitates the absence of key things (like anxiety, stress, anger, conflict, and kids jumping in the pool without their floaties on, even though you’ve told them a MILLION times not to!). However, Biblically, peace is also predicated on the presence of key things, i.e. “things being as they ought to be.”
Experiencing the fruit of peace is definitely a gift of the Spirit because there isn’t one single thing, day, or hour that is not touched by the brokenness and disruption of sin and the Fall. Even right now, I’m halfway through this email about peace, and I’m getting irritated by a youngster who is blaring loud rap music in his car outside my office window while he waits on his grandmother to complete her “Life Line Screening” appointment here at the church! Ugh.
That’s why the Bible says the peace of God is a peace that surpasses all understanding. The peace that is the Fruit of the Spirit is different from having a personality that’s calm or unemotional; and it’s not the result of checking out and just not caring anymore. This is a supernatural peace that we can’t manufacture, meditate ourselves into, explain, or understand. But it is good. So good. It is such a relief. Peace is a gift of God. It’s a gift of the Heavenly Father to his beloved children. It is something that we should experience. It’s a beautiful and powerful thing.
So, as we prepare our hearts for worship this Sunday, take some time to reflect on your longing for peace. As you do that, read and mediate on the following passages: Romans 5:1-5, Matthew 6:25-34, Proverbs 6:16-1. If you are reading this at the pool with young children, maybe you can ask a friend to watch yours – and just close your eyes for a minute and ask God to give you peace in your heart, mind, and soul.
Yours in Christ’s love,