When I was young, quite young, I prayed for Peace on Earth – that maybe in a single second, all the world would stop fighting, hating, irritating – and in that great single moment of perfect agreeableness, we would be transposed to heaven.
Peace today is a rain storm that brings a halt to all outdoor sports schedules. Peace is a balanced checkbook, a job with insurance, boys not ratcheting up good-natured interaction into a wrestling match into a fist fight. Peace is an absence of the bully in the bathroom. Peace is a clean kitchen, homework done, laundry folded, no-hiccup thing.
. . . . and that is a fearful deception – that peace is a day, a life of simply humming sweetly along without irritations, conflict, challenges.
A fructose kind of peace empty true sustaining value.
In my early twenties, I remember watching a series on the Holocaust, where Jewish characters greeted and left saying, “Shalom.”
I liked the sound of that word – but it wasn’t my word. You know how sometimes you want to do something, try something so much on the inside but you feel embarrassed, uncomfortable – you’re not quite sure you have the right to it – and so the idea stops right there.
Yet, on the inside, you desperately wish you had?
I didn’t think Shalom was for me.
It is, though – Shalom for you and me
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Shalom. (Isaiah 9:6)
Jesus was born and died so that we might have Shalom – not the fructose-kind of shalom – but the meaty, substantial shalom that nourishes the soul.
“For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend shalom to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream” (Isaiah 66:12)
Somewhere in each year, God gives me a Year of concept. There has been the Year of Refreshing, Standing, Walking, Little Blessings. It doesn’t always start on January 1. In early November, I entered The Year of Shalom.
Not a 60s,hippie, laissez faire-indifference to good and bad, not Hakuna Matata – a problem free existence. This Shalom isn’t peace resulting in perfectly balanced checkbooks, children never fighting, schedules that make don’t make time-contortionists out of us, never having situations that give us pause, frustration-free, never a batch of burnt cupcakes and having shiny, clean kitchen floors.
This Shalom like a calm core in the midst of a cyclone.
Life is sticky floors, bullies in bathrooms, minimized grocery lists, car-door dents.
Shalom despite circumstances.
Shalom because of Him.
Shalom in Him.
“Shalom I leave with you. My shalom I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful” (Hebrew Names Version: John 14:27)
In the midst of worldliness, of things going wrong around us Shalom assures completeness, even though that book isn’t published, provision – even in famine circumstances, contentment – even in a rough and tumble brotherhood, even in a bloom-where-don’t-want-to-be-planted place, relationships prospering parallel to relationships faltering, wholeness, the security found beneath His wings in an insecure world.
Peace in us that isn’t contigent on what is outside us.
Shalom, He whispers to me, soothing me,
wrapped up in my blankets,
watching the darkness outside
“lie down in my Shalom and sleep” (Psalm 4:8) –
let me protect
let me have the planning of tomorrow, He says.
He knocks on my doors and windows,
Let me in He calls
Allow my shalom to dwell
within your walls(Psalm 122:7)
When He is within my walls,
the alligators under the beds
He chases out.
“My little gentile daughter,
come swim in my Shalom,
Shalom that flows like a river
washing away the mud of worry,
the grime of imperfection,
the wornness of the muscles of yourself
trying to do my job,
immerse yourself into the flowing stream
of My Holy Spirit –
there my Shalom covers you
from head to toe
inside out(Isaiah 66:12)
I will make a covenant between me and you, He tells me, a covenant of Shalom – where your challenges that beset like evil beasts
will be chased out
of your mind,
of your words,
of your attitude,
my shalom deflects attacks
of those who come to hurt.
I will encamp about
your mind, your body, the walls of your house
and you will dwell in safety
in the wildness of the world,
you will be safe enough to sleep
in the woods for the coyotes,
the snakes, the spiders will be gone
won’t be able to hurt” (Ezekiel 34:25)
“Oh, daughter, greatly beloved,
Shalom I give to you
Grow strong in it
This year, I am called to live Shalom, talk it, share it – even to the places where I needs must bloom-where-I-do-not-want-to-be-planted – shalom in the center of chaos, of challenges, of life not always happening how I want it o happen.
Shalom, my friends!
“YHWH bless you and keep you.
YHWH make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
YHWH lift up His face upon you and give you SHALOM.
In the name of Yeshua haMashiyach SAR SHALOM – the Prince of Peace” (Numbers 6:24-26)
“And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: Shalom be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me” (Daniel 10:19).
2011 – Entering the Year of Walking
2010 – The Year of Refreshing
2009- The Year of Standing
Still joining Ann at 1,000 gifts:
- grandbaby girl scooting to me, wanting me to pick her up
- tiny fingers pointing
- little sounds trying to become words
- baby girl returning scrunchy faces with her uncle, much to her parents dismay
- tea with friends over the holidays, knitting
- friends who share our Christmas table
- nerf guns in Christmas stockings
- just-right gifts
- Christmas Eve muffalettas, a new tradition that finally made Christmas Eve seem well-put together
- delivered boxes on the porch
- That though time seems to be careening away – God tucks in time to savor.
- Toscano Soup added to my soup selection.
- My husband when I need it is like a wing that provides shelter