There's a path tracing the edge of campus, beyond the buildings. It's tucked away behind the sports fields and it's beautiful. Sometimes I'm almost convinced I'm not in St. Paul but walking through a park in a small town. The wooded trail skirts around a lake, the sun sparkling through the trees if you follow it at just the right time. And it's October in Minnesota, which means the whole place is golden and glowing.
One evening, when my to-do list was overwhelming and situations out of my control weren't going my way, I slipped away to this little sanctuary. It gave me time to think free of distractions and introduced a feeling that's sometimes lacking (see: homework & midterms): peace.
Paul urges us in Colossians 3:15 to "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." Wait– what does that mean? Let His peace rule in my heart?
I automatically associate "let" with allowing. Letting someone borrow a sweater means you allow them to wear it, giving it to them. But the dictionary presents a fascinating, thought-provoking alternative: not prevent or forbid.
It's a subtle and significant difference. Instead of allowing the sun to shine on your face by removing sunglasses, don't block it. Instead of allowing the waves to carry you by tossing aside an inner tube, don't fight against the roll of the water.
Maybe that's why this route in the woods is so serene. Nothing is preventing peace; nothing is distracting me from walking in it. Instead of merely allowing peace (as if we could somehow will it into our lives) what if we just simply didn't prevent it? It's promised in Philippians 4 that God's peace will guard our heart and minds in Christ Jesus. Choose peace instead of confusion. Don't let outside circumstances influence you to the point of preventing peace.
And peace– it's one of those small words everyone knows, yet struggles to define. The Greek definition means wholeness. Complete. All essential parts being joined together. In not prohibiting peace, we are made whole. Completion doesn't allow room for discord.
Could it be we have peace in Jesus because we are complete in Him? He fills up the holes in our hearts and brings life to our dry, broken souls. Perhaps peace is not only a feeling, but something to be fought for, sought after, and lived. It's a Person, Someone to be pursued, known, and followed.
Would you join me in discovering this path of peace? The Prince of Peace will lead us.
"Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is." Amy Carmichael