Do you have a ‘tree of peace’? It might be a ‘metaphorical tree of peace’ or a real one as in the picture where you can shelter in the ‘heat of the day’. To have both ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ peace is something most precious but they are in short supply these days. The pace of life exhausts us while the noise of life means silence can be hard to find. John Lennon asked us to ‘imagine all the people living life in peace’ and yet his son told another story:
- ‘Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world, but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces - no communication, adultery, divorce? You can't do it, not if you're being true and honest with yourself’ – Julian Lennon
- ‘People are basically the same the world over. Everybody wants the same things - to be happy, to be healthy, to be at least reasonably prosperous, and to be secure. They want friends, peace of mind, good family relationships, and hope that tomorrow is going to be even better than today’ – Zig Ziglar
Does Ziglar describe your life and quest for the peaceful life? Was the sixth Prime Minister of Israel right: ‘Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth’ – Menachem Begin
These are things that contribute to peace but are insufficient to describe ‘perfect peace’. There are many detractors and distractors to the prize of peace, whether it be the outer or inner variety.
- ‘I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil’ – Job 3:26
- ‘A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones’ – Proverbs 14:30
- ‘Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife’ – Proverbs 17:1
- ‘Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset’ – Saint Francis de Sales
- ‘“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked”’– Isaiah 48:22
Peace is hard won but easily lost. The robbers of peace are sometimes disguised as bringers of peace – money, sex and power – yet all too soon the charlatan imposters have robbed a person of security, assurance, friendships. In place of these, they have often left guilt, shame and condemnation. John Milton wrote of ‘paradise lost’ in ‘regions of sorrow … where peace and rest can never dwell’. In these regions, can peace be regained?
- ‘Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness’ – Marianne Williamson
- ‘God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing’ – C S Lewis
- ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ – John 16:33
- ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ – Isaiah 9:6
- ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation’ – Isaiah 52:7
- ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed’ – Isaiah 53:5
- ‘For he himself is our peace’ – Ephesians 2:14
This Prince of Peace won your peace through his very life-blood on the cross, the ultimate tree of peace.Have you received his peace and live within it?It must be fiercely guarded for it is your ‘very life’.
- ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ – Philippians 4:6-7
- ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful’ – Colossians 3:15
- ‘I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength’ – Philippians 4:12-13
- ‘You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you’ – Isaiah 26:3
- ‘You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands’ – Isaiah 55:12
- ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ – Romans 5:1
- ‘Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance’ – Jude 1:2
This peace which we have is something we need to actively participate in as well as to guard. We are called to the ‘way of peace’ and it has a calling on us too:
- ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone’ – Romans 12:18
- ‘The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace’ – Psalm 29:11
- ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’ – Matthew 5:9
- ‘Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace’ – Christie Brinkley
- ‘Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come’ – Henri Nouwen
- ‘Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love’ – Saint Francis of Assisi
The life of peace is one that receives and gives as it withstands all the stormy blasts than come. It is a life that is blessed with a soul at peace with God – it is grateful for the blessing and overflows in blessing to those around.
- ‘The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace’ – Numbers 6:25-26
- ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ – Romans 15:13
- ‘The God of peace be with you all. Amen’ – Romans 15:33
- ‘Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you’ – 2 Thessalonians 3:16
- ‘Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains’ – William Shakespeare
Be sure to find that tree of peace which has both outer and inner peace – it is a tree of life.
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