The Search for Peace
by Dr. Kevin Garrett
Published on April 16, 2023
Categories: Inspiration

The Search for Peace

By Kevin Garrett

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally, the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the   viewers clapped and cheered.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from   one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner. The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind    and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil. (Brett Kjos, A Wardrobe from the King).

 It seems we spend our lives looking for peace. Nothing on earth seems to bring what we conceive of as perfect peace. Perhaps we are searching for the wrong thing. Maybe we’re looking in the wrong places. Could it be that we don’t truly understand peace?

In writing his letter to the church in the town named “Phillipi,” the Apostle Paul mentioned something that scares me to death, as a pastor. He encouraged the church members to imitate him and to keep their eyes on those who walk according to the example they had in Paul and his companions in ministry. (See Philippians 3:17.) That frightens me because I wonder what people would be like if they imitated me. It’s a humbling thought, particularly in light of where we are in history. I have to ask the question, “Do I consistently exhibit attitudes and behaviors that exhibit peace in my life, or do I simply desire peaceful circumstances so that I am comfortable?” Do you ever ask questions like that of yourself? How would you feel if you were the example people were encouraged to follow, particularly in light of our current events, attitudes, reactions, and responses? Does it scare you to think about that possibility? If it doesn’t, it should. There are always those looking for examples. It’s easy to disappoint them.

Returning to the concept of peace; we tend to confuse happiness with peace. Peace is deeper than happiness, which requires “happenings” instead of the knowledge of security. Our times of COVID, facemasks, hurricanes, and election results have given each of us an opportunity to make statements and show actions based either upon these happenings or based upon a deeper security. There have been so many opportunities to “show our true colors” during the past several months. We have each been guilty of doing well and not so well in this area when the pressure has been applied in this glorious year that we call 2023.

As a pastor, one of my roles is to encourage others through hard times. Let me do that right now. We’ve all been on a difficult road, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could be like Paul and be bold enough to ask others to follow our example of faith, steadiness, and peace as a general pattern? Wouldn’t it be an honor to be able to say that we had done our best to be the people God had called us to be in front of a city and county full of people looking for peace?

Paul also wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV). These words should encourage us. They remind us that God desires for us to be steady, depend upon Him, and enjoy peace. He further wrote that we should focus on things that are good, noble, honorable, and pure. (Maybe we focus on the bad too much.) Furthermore, we are encouraged to practice those things that are good, and we will experience peace.

We are encouraged to be like the bird in the nest built in the only safe spot within a torrential waterfall. There will always be storms and troubles. Mankind will always search for peace. It is available from the one true source. May peace find you and may you find peace.

(NOTE: This article continues thoughts from September 2020 until 2022. They originally appeared in The Atmore News. I did not post online during those times. Date: 11/06/2020)

 Dr. Kevin Garrett has served the Lord through ministry for over thirty years. He holds a BS in Education and an MA in Music. He also holds an MDiv, DMin from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, with specializations in church health and next generation ministries. He and his wife, Tina, joyfully serve as pastor of First Baptist Church of Atmore, AL. They have two sons, Geoffrey and Nelson, and one daughter-in-love, Brooke, all of whom are active and serving in their churches in north Alabama. They adore their grandchildren! Read more about David, by visit his website.

Feature Image by A P B from Pixabay


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