July 6, 2016 | by: Maureen Maniquis | 1 Comments
Posted in: Gospel Living
Have you noticed the absence of the word “peace” in our world’s vocabulary these days? It used to be a fairly regular word that politicians and diplomats rolled off their tongues with a certain amount of confidence. We got used to hearing things like, “peace talks” or “peace initiatives” as though we were one meeting away from Utopia. Of course, the average person never bought into the false hope the leaders were peddling but that word somehow made us feel like something was at least in the works. Lately, it feels like half the world is on fire. Whether it’s Iraq, Afganistan, Syria, Nigeria, Israel or the streets of America, no one is using the word peace. It’s as though they all know that this fire is out of control and containment is truly uncertain. They aren’t even trying to give us false hope any more because they don’t know how to put out the fire.
What is it about humanity that always drives us toward wars! Our first gulp of air out of the womb ends in a wail. We have wars between nations, wars between ethnicities, wars between religions, wars between families, wars we fight within ourselves. We fight for peace but it always seems to elude us.
Our inner wars are probably the most elusive ones to escape. We can shut the world out with the flick of a channel. It’s easy to shut the mouths of the talking heads when we control the remote. But those inner wars, the voices that spar back and forth comparing, contrasting, who you are versus whom you want to be. The voices that remind you what you have and what you don’t. It is an age old inner conflict that keeps us on the move either striving for perfection or running from detection.
Yet, deep down we all long for peace, not just the absence of conflict but wholeness and a restoration of our broken parts. We want it to flow over us like a cool tropical breeze releases the sticky dirt and grime. The Jews call it Shalom. I like the sound of this Hebrew word, it’s soft and full and comforting. This is different than the peace the world speaks of so cheaply. The world cannot even maintain a cease-fire. Shalom is God’s peace, a soul peace that cannot be broken by a world on fire. It doesn’t happen through back-room deals between slick-tongued dignitaries. It isn’t built on false promises and temporary solutions. And it isn’t achieved through self-perfection or self-escape.
Shalom in its depth of meaning denotes completeness for the individual---the whole person in the process of being restored from brokenness. Can’t you just feel your shoulders relaxing and your breath lengthening? The idea that your peace is not dependent on heads of state, family relations, cultural mores or personal accomplishments is so freeing. The peace of God is a supernatural soul change that comes from his Holy Spirt. It is wholly God generated. With the breath of God comes refreshing new life, washing off the dirt and grime with fragrant buds of hope.
Shalom does not depend on us but rather on the One who made us. He alone knows how to restore the broken pieces back into a seamless whole. He holds the remote to the heart and when his voice thunders with truth it shuts those talking heads right down. The war has been won. The conflict is over.
The King is on the throne.
“I am leaving you with a gift---peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a peace the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT
Maureen Maniquis moved to Florida 10 years ago from Bern, Switzerland where she and her husband were living for 6 years while working at the American Embassy. While there, they helped plant an English speaking church in the heart of the city that still thrives today to meet the needs of expats who desire to be a part of a community of fellow believers. Maureen has been a part of the Restoration Church Core Team since its plant in 2010 and currently serves on the Hospitality Team and Prayer Team and will be a regular contributor to our blogs. She has published a book of her memoirs and is a passionate writer on Gospel living and pointing people to the heart of Jesus. maureenmaniquis-blog.com