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Wednesday, August 6, 2014



A day or two ago I was reading the headlines on my browser's homepage and featured one more time were deaths due to battles in the Middle East.  Frankly, I wonder if any place on earth has suffered as much warfare, throughout history, as those patches of desert ground.  As I saw the headline, I thought to myself, “I can’t imagine what it would be like to live my life in the middle of a battle zone.”  For some of the people in those countries, that is all they have ever known, and any peace they have experienced has either been dictatorially imposed through intimidation on them, or has been a fragile peace they know can be shattered in a moment with a bomb or a rocket attack.  Can you imagine?

Then I thought about how many people living in so-called marriages (if you will permit the term), are also living in perpetual battle zones.  I am grateful that my current marriage is a long way from that, and is a relationship in which I think we both feel loved, encouraged and supported.  I haven’t always had that experience…otherwise I wouldn’t have been divorced, right?  It is a precious thing to have a marriage I can treasure.

You know, I think much of life is already a battleground, without having to fight ongoing skirmishes in the confines of your own home with someone who is supposed to be on the same side as you, someone who is supposed to be your ally.  World War II would never have been won, if the Americans, Russians and British (and the other allies) spent their time shooting at each other instead of focusing their attacks on the Nazi and Imperialist enemies.  Many of us know what it is like to battle each day at work to be successful in our vocation, or to battle financial setbacks, illnesses and other such daily challenges.   There are emotional battles that rage, sometimes because of our own moods that would drag us down or cause us to make poor choices, sometimes due to the actions of others who hurt or disappoint us.  I believe there are also spiritual battles, some of which have our moral standing at stake, others of which risk our eternal destiny as the enemies of God rage against the human race (many of whom become unwitting tools in the hands of evil), and especially against those who seek to follow God faithfully.

Maybe in your life there are rockets falling and you regularly step on landmines which destroy the opportunity for peace at home, at work, or in the other arenas of your life.  Sometimes peace can only be achieved through fighting harder.  Sometimes peace is achieved by the wisdom to know which battles are not worth fighting.  And sometimes battles rage all around you no matter what you choose to do, as so many innocents experience in the Middle East (and other spots around the globe) when their leaders or self-styled soldiers impose violent situations upon them.  Many times those divorcing are seeking escape from the continual battlezone that their home has become.

Perhaps these things are why there is so much emphasis in the Bible on peace, biblically described as not merely cessation of hostility, but also as a sense of wholeness, well-being and contentedness.  No matter what the battles of life, God offers to share his own peace with us, that in the midst of this world’s warfare, we can be at peace knowing we are exactly where we need to be and doing exactly what we are supposed to do, being protected and loved by the one who designed our lives before we were even born.  

Will peace ever come to the Middle East, or the rest of our world?  Even in the United States, daily police reports of criminal activity, or the court records of divorce filing indicate that peace is more than merely lack of war between countries.  External peace may never become the experience of this world’s population.  But peace in the midst of it is promised from God for those would seek it.  I hope that those people struggling in terrible situations are able, now and then, to know some of God’s peace in their hearts.  And I pray that they will be able to find a more peaceful way to live in proximity with one another.  I also hope that in your home you can know peace as allies in life’s battles, rather than have to live in constant skirmishes of anger and resentment.

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