Finding The Peace Of God
by Ann Spangler
One day a father was sitting in his study, attempting to work while keeping an eye on his young son. Looking around for something to occupy the boy, he tore a picture of the earth from the pages of a magazine. Ripping the picture into small pieces, he cupped the shredded blue and green papers in his hands and offered them to the boy as a gift. “Here’s a puzzle for you to put together,” he said.
Trotting out of the room to reassemble it, his son seemed delighted by his new assignment. Turning back to his work, the father smiled, confident that at last he could count on some uninterrupted time. But his sense of satisfaction vanished as soon as the boy walked back into his study, triumphantly announcing the successful completion of the puzzle. “How,” the surprised father asked, “did you put it together so quickly?”
“It was easy,” the boy replied. “There’s a person on the other side of the page and when you put the person together, you put the world together.”1
The boy’s unintended wisdom cuts to the heart of our quest for peace.
Perhaps you wonder what life would be like if you could find a way to banish your anxiety or to let go of the peace-destroying thoughts that plague you. Or maybe you are hoping to rid yourself of memories that control and disturb you. Or perhaps you are sure you will explode if one more thing gets added to your harried schedule. Whatever the circumstances, you want the peace God promises to become more evident in your life.
My need to become a more peaceful parent has been my own entre to the subject of peace. I want to stop worrying so that I can help create an environment where trust and faith can grow. This is what makes me want to explore what the Bible means when it talks about peace, especially as it applies to the human spirit. Are there disciplines, ways of living that lead to peace? And conversely, are there ways of looking at the world and responding to it that lead to anxiety and a conflicted life? This book represents my search for answers to these questions.
Though I approach the subject with my own needs in view, I realize that others will be drawn to it from different directions. You may, for instance, be sensing your need to repair a strained relationship. Or perhaps you have been frustrated by past hurts that will not heal. Or maybe you are bothered by the pace and insecurity of modern life. You want to find ways of both slowing down and calming down.
Whatever your need, the mission of this book is to help you reclaim large areas of peace within yourself so that there will be more peace in our troubled world.
Like life itself, our progress toward peace does not follow a linear path. But as you continue to live for Christ, you will find that in the end, even the least peaceful times in your life will have drawn you closer to the one who is himself our peace. The mystery of how exactly this can happen resides not so much in our own efforts but in God’s unswerving desire to deliver on the promise he has made.
1This story is recounted in Catherine Whitmire, Practicing Peace (Notre Dame, Indiana: Sorin Books, 2007) 127.
Adapted from Ann Spangler, The Peace God Promises: Closing the Gap Between What You Experience and What You Long For (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 11-27.