For over three months our vocabulary has expanded to include a term we were far less familiar with that has now become a household staple for our conversations. Just like the waves of an angry, storm-tossed sea, the news of this virus has spread quickly leaving an overwhelming response in its wake. Unlike our predictable panicked answer to the threat of snow or sleet, our human survival instincts have shifted from overdrive to moving at the speed of fright. Typically, we are prone to purchase extra bread and milk just in case the weather conditions persist a bit longer than we would like.
Recently, we have witnessed an unprecedented reaction to the arrival and announcement of the COVID-19 contagion. Our local and global neighbors have rushed out and over-bought toilet paper! Although the need for an abundance of this name brand and off-brand commodity is not indicated by the symptoms of this modern-day plague, what we have seen, we have come to emulate! Scott Andrews of CNN reported, “people resort to extremes when they hear conflicting messages. And perceived scarcity becomes actual scarcity!” Mary Alvord, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at George Washington School of Medicine, shared, “[our] primal need is for comfort…comfort is knowing that it (toilet paper) is there.” The over-collection (I am trying to avoid labeling this acquisition as hoarding) is a means of exerting control where we have little to none.
In our fragile human frame with its accompanying short-sightedness, we are prone to become unnerved and distracted by our surroundings which cause us to forget we can rely on God for our peace. You see, peace is not only God’s gift to us, peace is our choice and the fruit of our relationship with God (Galatians 5:22-25).
Grocery store workers are doing their best to keep essentials on the shelves as we continue to stock up on supplies. The longer we find ourselves in this volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous state, the more we must rely on God for our peace. God’s consistent brand of serenity is so very different from the tranquility our circumstances seek to offer conditionally (John 14:27). How can we experience this precious gift from God when our environment embraces contrary outcomes?
The eternal God is not bound by our temporal conditions. God is calling us into broader expressions of faith in Him as recipients of His peace. God invites us to exhibit the fruit of peace when chaos seems to call out even louder. God’s peace inspires us to share what God has given us with others without cost. We are moved to purchase only what is needed, making the same or similar resources available for the next neighbor. Peace with God is our anchor of stability that prevents us from drifting into the shallow waters of casual concern regarding necessary precautions. Peace is our shield against being caught up in the riptide of despair, cynicism or selfishness. This gift guards us from attempting to capitalize on another’s shortfall. The peace of God leads us to trust “He has the whole world in His hands!”
Choosing God’s peace releasing this treasure to “rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15).” To rule means “to act as umpire, as in ‘making the call in a conflict between contesting forces.’” God’s peace encourages us to view life through faith’s broad lens instead of seeing our options from fear’s narrow portals. Choosing God’s peace assures us we can be at ease during this crisis. Remember God’s people are called to peace. This state of faith is God’s invitation to name peace as our answer to chaotic, disruptive, and doubtful situations. Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is our courage to rest in God’s presence while acknowledging God is with us always, no matter what happens.
Today and each day, place your trust in God. Allow His peace to direct your thoughts, choices and actions. May the fruit of your life reflect your desire to walk in peace which brings a sense of calm, comfort, and shared experience to all around you. God is with us in this season and promises to remain true when the daily reports of this outbreak are in our rearview mirror and the rush for toilet paper subsides.
You are loved. Rest in God’s peace. Choose to let peace umpire your heart and share the fruit peace produces!
Today and always… Stay prayerful and careful! He’s got the whole world in His Hands! The Lord is our Peace!