What does it mean to be at peace?
Have you ever met anyone that turned a perspective you had in life upside down? Maybe I said that too softly. Have you ever had someone just shatter a life perspective?
When I was a teenager my parents took me to hear a man speak by the name of Richard Wurmbrand. This Jewish Romanian minister born in the early 1900’s was old and quite crippled. Not exactly exciting for a teenager. When we walked in I was astonished to find the room packed. The event began with a lengthy introduction of all this guys accomplishments. No music, no flashing lights, no smoke, no video projectors, nothing except a microphone. After the first old guy finished introducing the second old guy, he stood up with assistance and slowly limped over to a deep-seated armchair on the stage. After he situated himself he started to speak, slowly. He shared about growing up in an anti-Semitic Romania and ultimately becoming a Christian. His life was a laundry list of sacrifice because of his beliefs. He had been imprisoned for spreading the Gospel and went through horrific psychological and physical torture. The Communists even told his wife that he had died in prison when he hadn’t. In 1966 he testified in Washington D.C., revealing his physical scars that brought much of what was happening in the dark to light. The unforgettable part to me was his peace. Yep, you read that right. His peace. His testimony wasn’t delivered from a dark heart, but one of hope.
It’s hard for me to explain, but he seemed happier and more fulfilled than any of my high school friends who drove new cars, partied on the weekend, and lived off of mom and dad’s hard work. Theoretically my friends lived the good life. Why was this guy so much more fulfilled? This old man threw my perspective of peace and joy on its head. His life fulfillment wasn’t conditional on external circumstances. Something in him was stronger than life itself. As he shared I realized his peace isn’t in what is, but in his hope of what will be.
2 Peter 3:11-13, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Do you have a hope this strong?Mike Colaw is the pastor of Trinity Church in Indianapolis, IN. He attended college at Oklahoma Weslyan University and blogs at www.mcolaw.wordpress.com.