SWEET PEACE

 

My Mama, Maggie Lou, was married in a quiet ceremony, in her parent’s home, on Christmas Eve, 1917.

The war that raged on the Western Front, in Europe—“The Great War”—The War to End All Wars,” seemed a million miles away on that joyous occasion.

Mama went to live with her beloved Ed and his bootlegging father, on a dry land farm in eastern Oklahoma.

By her eighteenth birthday, in March of 1918, Mama was already pregnant with her first child.  Suddenly life, for this laughing girl, became serious.  She was now responsible for another life, and she awoke each morning wondering if this was the day her young husband would be called up to serve his country and perhaps die in a faraway place.

America, under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson, had remained neutral the first two and one-half years of the war.  However, neutrality finally became impossible considering the increased aggression of the Nation of Germany, and our close bond with Great Britain.  So America entered the fray on April 6, 1917 sending 2,000,000 American boys to the front where 50,000 of them died.

In Paris, France, on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m. an Armistice was signed, and the war came to an end.  The world was at peace!

Just after midnight, in the wee hours of November 12, while bells were still ringing, horns still blowing, and people still celebrating, Maggie gave birth to a baby boy.  Beautiful Levi!

The baby that she had carried in her womb for nine months was now safe in her arms, and there was no longer any danger that Ed would have to go to war.  Sweet peace brought healing to her troubled heart.

Peace is a rare and longed for commodity.  It is said that there are those who would give a “King’s ransom” for one hour of genuine peace.  The “War to End All Wars” was a hope never realized, for war rages somewhere in this world continually.

Many people and entities have tried to bring peace to our world.  The military can’t do it.  Diplomats have failed.  Governments are ineffective, and The United Nations is laughable for the most part.

War does not have to be nation against nation.  It is sometimes corporation against corporation or family against family, and mostly individual against individual.

Truth is, strife and discord begin at the grassroots.  I’m reminded of The Hatfield and The McCoy feud—a feud that lasted almost thirty years and has had repercussions for decades.

No one is sure, but it is said that the whole thing started over the theft of a hog.  However it started, it escalated to murder and mayhem, and the absence of any measure of peace.

I know individuals who hate to go home for the holidays, because of family infighting—so much for “Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men!”

There are times when outside interference lays siege to my personal peace.  Last spring when I was rewarded guardianship of my sister, I heaved a sigh of relief believing that, aside from the annual reports I must file, I needed only to take good care of her.  However, last week, without warning, my sister’s attorney requested that I be removed as guardian.

I am devastated.  I am praying. I am crying, and just like you, I am wringing my hands, and losing sleep.   Sunday evening I was with a group of friends, who prayed with me.  Monday morning just as I was awakening, I saw the words, as on a plaque, “sweet peace the gift of God’s love.  Opening my eyes, I thought, “That’s a song.  I haven’t heard it in a hundred years, but I know that song, and the words came singing back.

When Jesus as Lord I have crowned,

My heart with His peace will abound;

In Him, the rich blessing I found,

Sweet peace the gift of God’s love.

 

Peace, peace, sweet peace,

Wonderful gift from above.

Wonderful, wonderful peace,

Sweet peace the Gift of God’s love.

 Later in the day, I read these words from Jeremiah 20:11.  “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.  Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail.”

 This promise is certainly a recipe for peace.

Finally, I believe, “THE WAR TO END ALL WARS” is the war that I wage within—the war that I fight against Christ and His authority in my life.  When I refuse to give Him control, I am filled with turmoil, hopelessness, and fear.  When I lay down my arms and lift my hands in surrender, the Prince of Peace comes in, and His peace remains.

The world is in fighting mode—in hearts, in homes, in our streets, in legislatures, courts, and palaces.  From north to south, east to west, we are at war, but in the middle of all this chaos, you can live in peace.

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on You.”

God’s peace is a gift.  Give up your weapons, sign the Armistice, and fix your heart and mind on Him in exchange for perfect peace.

Your prayers are appreciated.

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY

At this juncture in my life, I have to talk myself into going to the Mall.  It is not nearly the fun it used to be.

I decided I would go on Saturday morning.  There was business to take care of.  I needed some summer sandals, I was dying to buy a dress I had seen in a Dillard’s ad, and I had some wounded jewelry that needed repair.

Wouldn’t you know?  I slept very poorly Friday night, and was in no condition to go anywhere on Saturday.  However, being the stubborn, determined gal I am, I made my way to the Mall refusing to give into my weariness.

I started out at Macy’s looking for sandals.  Then on rubbery legs, I trudged to the jewelry store.  I was greeted by a lovely auburn haired lady in a green jacket.

“How may I help you?” she asked pleasantly.

“I have some jewelry that needs repair,” I answered.

I asked if we could sit, for I really didn’t think I could stand much longer.

Felicia inquired whether or not I had shopped with them before.  I had, and at her request, I repeated my telephone number.

She entered the number into the computer, and Cecil’s name, not mine, appeared on the screen.

“Cecil was my husband,” I volunteered.  “We bought our rings here.”

After examining the pieces of jewelry, and determining the work that needed to be done, and the price for each repair, she said the work would be done by June 22.

“That’s good!” I said.  “I’ll have them before I leave on my trip,”  I told her. I was going to see my brother, and in the course of the conversation I revealed the fact that we are both retired ministers, so we have a lot in common and much to talk about.

“Oh,” she said hesitantly,   “I think faith had something to do with finding my boyfriend.  At the age of forty, it’s not easy, you know.”

I laughed saying, “Oh, how well I remember.  I used to be really mad at God because everyone got married but me.  I didn’t understand why.  God wasn’t fair!  For years I believed He, for some incomprehensible reason, had said ‘NO,’ to my longing.  However, over the course of time, I found He had only said, ‘WAIT’.”

In a puzzled voice, Felicia asked, “Well, how long did you wait?”

“For His own reason, I have no idea why God made me wait seventy-seven years,” I said looking into her wide eyes with a grin.

She was incredulous.  “Seventy-seven years, and you were never married before?”

“No!” I said.  “That was the first and only time.  So you see, there’s hope for you.”

Then came the question.  “How long were you married?”

“Five months and eleven days,” I replied.

Those words presented a precious privilege—a priceless opportunity to share my faith and God’s faithfulness.

I told Felicia, briefly, of Cecil’s and my God ordained time together.  Then I told her of his death on a Saturday afternoon.

I gave him a pain pill.  Sitting on the side of the bed he took the pill and looked up at me and said.  “I am going to take this pill and lie down and go to sleep, and I am not going to wake up.”  Then he put his arms around me, kissed me tenderly and continued, “I love you.  Thank you for all that you have ever done for me.”

Ten minutes later he was gone.

Felicia’s eyes were as big as saucers.  “He knew,” she said.  “How did he know?”

“When you have known God, served Him and walked with Him for nearly eighty years, you know how to hear His voice.  He speaks incredible things to the heart that loves Him,” I told her.

I shared with her how my faith in God, and His faithfulness to me, had lifted me up and out of the darkest time of my life and made me whole again.

Like a hungry waif, this young woman drank in every word, and I left the store with a great bubble of joy threatening to burst within me.  I will take her my blog address the next time I go.

In I Corinthians 16, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about his planned visit to them.  In verses 8 and 9, He says, (The Message) “For the present, I am staying right here in Ephesus.  A huge door of opportunity for good work (for the preaching of the gospel—for the witness of Christ) has opened up here.”

What a priceless opportunity I would have missed had I given into weariness and stayed home on Saturday morning.  This was God’s time for Felicia and me.  It was His open door of opportunity.

Acts 1:8 says, “…you shall be my witnesses…”

Every time we leave the house our spiritual eyes ought to be aware of the door of precious opportunity God has opened for us.  There are a bunch of Felicia’s and Freds and Susans and Sams out there who are hungry for the truth.  Don’t miss God’s open door.

THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!