Counsel for Crisis
Gift of Peace
The world will enter “a protracted period of peace.” This hope was expressed in 1970 byUS National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, along with President Richard Nixon. It’slaughable now, but tragic too. As Jesus wept over Jerusalem, we grieve over a world thatconvulses from one calamity to another. Earthquakes, floods, terrorism, poverty, disease,ethnic hatred—these are our story, even while our knowledge and technology go onwardand upward. The higher our enlightenment, it seems, the deeper our darkness. But hoperemains—“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the worldgives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27.
“Will we ever get back to normal?” During calamity, that’s our question. But what isnormal? Uncertainty and loss appear to be the prevailing pattern of life on Earth—something we can easily overlook when we’re blessed by years of stability. The twinrealities of Hebrews 11:32–40 help our understanding. The first reality is God’s gift of victory, fulfilment, strength, and miracle. The second reality is suffering, destitution,desperation, and death. These realities are two parallel tracks on which we make our waythrough history.
But we are making our way!
—to a third reality, a destination. “God hasplanned something better.” Then comes this counsel (see Hebrews 12:1–3): “Let us fix oureyes on Jesus. Let’s fill our minds with him, so we will not grow weary or lose heart.”
Fresh on the minds of some in Jesus’ time was a nasty incident. A tower fell on 18 peopleand killed them. Jesus made two points from this. First, he corrected the view that those18 must have been extremely bad sinners. This is important. Bad things happen to badpeople; bad things happen to good people too. Second, Jesus said calamity is an urgentcall to life change for
of us. He invites us to himself now; because in this world ourpossessions and our safety are not guaranteed. “Don’t be filled with anxiety; be filledwith God. God notices the sparrows, he nourishes the lilies, he knows you intimately, hevalues you highly. Make God your only treasure and your refuge.” See Luke 12 and 13.
You won’t discover your true character when things go well. You’ll discover your truecharacter when things fall apart. Patience, resilience, resourcefulness, faith, hope,courage, integrity—like the pearl in the mollusk, these are refined and revealed when wecome under irritation or attack. Equally important is compassion. Can I act withcompassion when I’m suffering? More pointedly, do I act with compassion when I’mcomfortable? Tragedies in our sphere of influence are opportunities to respond as Christwould respond. “Lord, break the stranglehold of selfishness in my life. Make me aninstrument of your peace. Lead me to act with your compassion for a world in need.”
LifeSpots 2011: Scripture counsels for Christians on the move
Page 3Copyright © 2011 by Ed Gallagher, Auckland, New Zealand. Individual “LifeSpots” may be used for non-commercialpurposes without speciﬁc permission, with the acknowledgement: Ed Gallagher. / Unless otherwise noted, Scripturequotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 byInternational Bible Society. Used by permission. / *The Message. Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.