There’s a Rich Mullins song that comes to mind when I think of darkness and how God’s reality slices right through it, right through me and my own darkness, right through prison walls, a nation’s border walls and today, here, now.
“Where could I go, where could I run
Even if I found the strength to fly
And if I rose on the wings of the dawn
And crashed through the corner of the sky
If I sailed past the edge of the sea
Even if I made my bed in Hell
Still there You would find me
‘Cause nothing is beyond You
You stand beyond the reach
Of our vain imaginations
Our misguided piety
The heavens stretch to hold You
And deep cries out to deep
Singing that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You
Time cannot contain You
You fill eternity
Sin can never stain You
Death has lost its sting
And I cannot explain the way You came to love me
Except to say that nothing is beyond You
Nothing is beyond You
If I should shrink back from the light
So I can sink into the dark
If I take cover and I close my eyes
Even then You would see my heart
And You’d cut through all my pain and rage
The darkness is not dark to You
And night’s as bright as day
…Nothing is beyond You. Nothing is beyond You.”
—Rich Mullins, Nothing is Beyond You
There’s a reason why people make fun and mock the idea of peace, the Bible says it, “…the peace of God…surpasses all understanding…”.
Some of Jesus’ last words to his disciples were about the peace He gives and how the world’s definition of peace is lost in the light of His. He was offering troubled hearts a real place to experience rest and trembling hearts a firm place to stand.
This kind of peace belongs to people with grit, people who trust in the middle of darkest darkness—their own or the world’s. Pollyanna wishing can’t survive here, optimism blows away in the wind.
Hope and trust, however, they anchor the smallest vessel. In the language of the Bible the one who trusts is “kept in perfect peace” and has a “guard(ed) heart and mind”. It’s a gift and a choice: “Let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts…”.
It’s a choice to trust, even if that means the best we can do is turn our yearning toward God and not to some political salvation or financial structure or any other false stability the world offers and tells us is hope or peace.
“Trust in the Lord forever, …the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”
When I write to encourage you to pray for peace, for our world, for ourselves, it’s not because I do not know the lack of it, or see the aching state of things and deal with my own soul amnesia.
I write because I believe in the midst of all that — the Lord is our Shepherd. I write with hope that together and today we’ll look up, and know deep in our bones, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, You are with me”.
This is His promise and His peace, He will never leave us nor forsake us. He sent the Holy Spirit, in Hebrew we say the “ruach ha kodesh”, His breath of holiness, the Spirit of truth, to teach us His ways. He’s in North Korea and Indonesia, He’s in Saudi Arabia and Africa, He’s in London and France and even here in America too.
Struggles, stumbles, battles, even terrorism, war, and persecution; these things are not a denial of His reality, truth, or peace but rather, where the rubber meets the road and the hypothesis comes down from the sky. Lack of peace can be the very vehicle for revelation and transformation. This is how miracle works. First, need — then, salvation. Ours first and then flowing outward.
May we know You more Lord. You Who heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. You are not a god far off, but King who exchanged Your royal garment to be near us, down in the soil, and teach us how to draw near to You. You proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. May we be like You. Starting here,
“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)
One step at a time,
Raynna, for the whole family
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