“Wherever you are, wage peace.”
So said Ann Voskamp (via one of her advent videos) to me this morning.
Talk about a divine interruption.
I had certain expectations when I woke up this morning as a busy day beckoned.
Then I ran smack into someone else who did not fulfill those expectations, barely five minutes into my day.
Expectations always strangle and smother joy and peace. Every single time. They are so dangerous.
My first reaction was to let some harsh words escape from my lips. Did this person not know all that I had to do today?!
That is always my default mode. Jesus has been so patient with me over the years, gradually softening my heart so that my words are soft too.
The true miracle is that I have cooperated with Him! It has not been easy taming this wild, stony heart of mine. But His love, while tender, is also incredibly powerful and compelling. He comes to us with His fiery, purifying love in all its holy beauty and He is absolutely irresistible.
My eyes immediately went to the manger scene on display in our home. There, the reminder of our greatest Gift confronted my angry heart and I knew He was beckoning me to keep my mouth shut and come and be with Him.
So I left the room, those awful accusatory words forever unsaid, and made a beeline for my Bible. I opened Jesus’ love letter to us, the love letter that endlessly and eternally proclaims the wonder of Who He is. (John 1:1).
And I read, “Now (in this moment, when your heart is in turmoil because self has taken center stage), may the Lord of Peace Himself (that would be Jesus) give you peace at all times and in every way (even in this). The Lord be with you all.” (That, after all, is the miracle of this season…Jesus is Emmanuel: God With Us)—(w Thessalonians 3:16).
Ann says in her video, “When I’ve lost a sense of peace, I need to go looking in the direction where I’ve left keeping company with the Person of Peace, Jesus.”
I had temporarily parted company with Jesus in my heart when I had forgotten the season that we are in; the season of Advent, as we remember the glorious and wondrous fact that He came to us!
My own selfishness had blinded me to the Gift of Him, who is now forever with us.
So I had to a choice to make. I could have listened to the enemy, who always tries to spur us on to wage war with ugly words and actions. Or I could do it Jesus’ way.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
His way is ALWAYS best.
“You know how much I have to do today and all before noon,” I reminded Him. (as if He didn’t know). “Now I have all this other stuff to do and I will need Your help—and Your strength— to get it all done.”
I sensed His smile. That smile that comes from His perfect, loving heart because nothing is impossible.
With that benediction, He sent me into my day with a heart filled with peace rather than anxiety, anger, and frustration.
I walked into the kitchen, saw the babe in the manger, thanked Him for His grace and His mercy and His never-ending love.
Then, as the hours unfolded, I watched Him lay out my day so that I got every single thing done that I needed to do…with time to spare.
I had waged peace with the Prince of Peace leading the way…and joy reigned!
Wage peace today.