Beachball Therapy- Not!

Beach_BallHave you ever tried to hold a beach ball underwater?  It takes a lot of energy and focus.  You may be trying to hide it from someone else in the pool, trying to make nice and act like you don’t have it.  But invariably, something will happen – you get distracted, you loosen your grip, someone calls your name, and whoosh! That beach ball ascends to the surface with astounding speed, and once it starts, it’s almost impossible to stop.  The force with which it reveals itself can be surprising and shocking.

That’s the way the world tries to maintain peace.  It seems to view it as something that can co-exist with hostility – trying to keep the hostility at bay, expending energy and resources to make sure it doesn’t come to the surface, while maintaining the illusion of “making nice”.  That’s an artificial and fragile peace at best.

Likewise, we sometimes try to keep the peace by not expressing our true feelings and hope that things will just work themselves out, often because we have a sense that we may be unleashing our inner beach ball!  The world offers all sorts of systems to help us, doesn’t it?  There’s yoga, meditation techniques, New Age philosophies—even Oprah has recommended ways to achieve it.

But part of the reason we don’t achieve it is because we don’t understand what peace really is and who the giver of true peace is. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Rather, it is the existence of the Kingdom of God in our hearts.

Righteousness, Peace and Joy
The Bible tells us that the Kingdom of God “is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:7).  This Kingdom is pretty distinct from the world and all its systems. We enter it by trusting Jesus with our lives, and start with being at peace with God:

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1 New Living Translation

Because we know we’re forgiven and secure in God’s love, the character that forms in us doesn’t come from satisfying external wants and needs, but from an internal transformation that only God can bring. It helps us to begin to live in harmony with others, not because we’ll always be on the same page, but because we can respond from an inner core of strength that’s rooted and grounded in what the Prince of Peace has provided for us.

When Jesus was training his disciples for the work they would be doing in the future, He wanted to be sure they knew the legacy He’d be leaving them. It would be important as they would be facing many challenges much like the things we experience every day:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

His peace has been left with us and given to us freely.  It is the kind of peace that transcends hostility, fear, and misunderstanding and it produces a quietness deep inside that comes from knowing God holds our concerns in His hands and will continue to strengthen us and help us to live right with Him and others in this world.

That beats holding a beach ball underwater any day. :)

Originally written for “my peeps” at Newport Mesa Church Women’s Ministry
GIFT Series 2013

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