Last week, I wrote about a conversation I had with a friend of mine. He was going through a difficult time in life, and in the wake of his family and financial troubles, he was feeling turmoil in his soul. My friend was searching for inner peace.
The word peace in our Old Testament is the Hebrew Shalom, which means wellness, particularly wellness of the soul. That wellness is both a gift and a process. Let me explain what I mean with a musical illustration.
We all know people who have a gift when it comes to making music. I watched a child prodigy on TV playing the piano last week. He is about ten years old, but plays as well as any concert pianist. The audience was electrified by his genius, and so was I!
That young boy has a gift. But he also practices his piano for hours every day. His musical ability is both a gift and a process.
Jesus was only hours away from His unimaginably painful crucifixion when He said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you…do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Notice a few things about Jesus’ promise of peace: First, it came in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death. It is not hard to enjoy peace while sunbathing on the beach at Maui or while holding your sleeping baby, but this gift came when the disciples’ world was falling apart, while was unrelated to the circumstances around them.
Secondly, this kind of inner peace comes from God. It had to do with His work of bringing us into harmony with Him in our most difficult seasons. A few years ago, the famous pianist Padereski was performing in a large US city. Before the concert began, a young seven-year old boy whom his mother had wanted to expose to great music, had sneaked up onto the stage and began playing the finely tuned Steinway piano. As he plunked away on Chopsticks, the only piece he knew, the crowd began to murmur, “What’s that boy doing on the stage!” “Where are his parents!”? “How rude!” But when behind the boy tiptoed the famous Padereski, they grew quiet. Surely, the pianist would reprimand the boy! But he didn’t.
Padereski simply stretched his long arm around each side of the child and then whispered, “Keep playing”. Then he skillfully filled in the harmony of Chopsticks. The audience roared in approval as the two of them played together! I love that picture because it illustrates how our loving creator meets us right where we are and joins us in our struggles with His heavenly harmony. He has the ability to bring goodness and wellness out of the most difficult circumstances.
I’ll pick up this important subject in another article.
Originally published in the Tri-City News newspaper in Barry Buzza’s “Pastor’s Perspective” column.
For a listing of Pastor Barry’s books visit Over The Wall Ministries.