Monday, April 22, 2013

My Peace I give to you.....

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14: 27
It was July of 1996 and I had spent almost 2 weeks in Ukraine on a Summer Mission Trip with 10 other people. We ended our trip with a stay in Amsterdam. We woke up on our last day their to pack our bags and drive to the airport to catch our plane back to the States. We turn on the TV and the first thing we here is, "Bomb explodes at Olympic City park in Atlanta, GA." The three of us look at each other , almost in unison, ask, "Do we really want to go back home?" I don't think it was because we were flying into Atlanta, at least it wasn't for me, but the idea of coming back to a violent and unknown situation. I all honesty, if I had a choice I really would have stayed. Most people who know me know I tried to have as little drama in my life as possible and a bomb exploding in my country means drama.
It was a Tuesday morning, the fall semester of my last year of graduate school. This was my long day at school, I had an 8:05 am class with the last class at 5:40 pm. I also had an exam in my last class of the day. My first class was over and I was sitting in the student lounge until chapel. A classmate came in and said, "Have you heard?" A few of us said, "Heard what?" That is when he preceded to tell us that two planes had been flown into the Twin Towers in NY, a plane had flown into the Pentagon and another crashed into a field. I couldn't breath or move. I was just frozen. At the beginning of chapel a fellow classmate and dear friend to this day stood at the lectern and said, "Our country has been attacked." I went thought the day in a daze, calling people just to connect and then leaving after my exam to go home. I don't know how I made it home safely because all the way home I looked at the sky and not the road. I was filled with so much fear. Fearful of losing everyone that matter to me and my life shattering into a million pieces. Not in 1996 or in 2001 did I feel any peace.
But peace is a promise of God. How, in our world today do we find peace in the midst of violence. I can't tell you what has changed since 2001 but something has. I can watch the news and still be troubled and saddened when I hear about shootings in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia and of bombs going off in Boston. Last Monday when I heard the report I first called my parents and asked them if they had heard about it, they had not. I then said to my dad, "It still saddens me to hear about such violence but I am no longer surprised." I don't know what that says about me but I have come to expect to hear the worst of humanity on TV. I have also come to a place of peace. I know, without any doubt that when bad things befall us, God is still with us. That knowledge, that God is still with me, gives me peace.
I pray that if you have not found that peace that you will continue to lean on God and cone to a place of peace. Peace doesn't free us from feeling pain but it helps us to bear it and carry on.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.