So, there I was in the spot. There are many spots at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the surrounding area, that have personal significance to me. This spot I am currently talking about is a bridge at the back of the university, near some of the dorms. The bridge goes over a storm trench that is usually filled with water. It is a rather beautiful spot that is often void of other people. This was me and my best freind’s place of peace on campus, to have our important life discusions. We have had many conversations there over the last few years.
I recently got to visit my friend at the campus. Before he got there, I went to this spot. Initialy what I saw caused me slight dismay, until I thought about what really happened. The waters had ceded and wild foilage grew in its place. I initially missed seeing the peaceful waters there, but then I realised what the waters did: they gave way to life. This is always the purpose of peace – to give way to life.
So, as I stood there looking at this frozen scene, I thought of the words of King David in Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He RESTORES my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
God leads us by still waters. Why?
To restore our souls. Then what?
He leads us through paths of righteousness, which will go through valleys of the shadow of death. Just like soldiers in war, we fall back to rest and regroup so that we can face the enemy. If all we do is rest, we
become complacent and we are not truly living. Complaceny is just a nice way to say that one is dead inside.
Water gives life. It is a simple fact that most of us know. On a spiritual level, many of the conversations that I have had on that little bridge on campus had given me life in the past, just in the same way that the water gave life to wild foilage in it’s place.
If the water stayed, then nothing could grow in its place; if my conversations never ended then they would have produced no spiritual fuits in me.
For those of us who partake in healthy dietary lifestyles, we may take days off to indulge ourselves occassionally. This helps you stay the course and stay on your health journey longer, in the end.
If, however, one has an indulgence day that lasts longer than a day or two, then they will notice their health deteriate and likely will end up having to start much of their health journey over again.
Our day of indulgence can be a great outlet for us to eat foods we usually don’t partake in; but, if it lasts too long then instead of producing longevity in our healthy lifestyle, it will prevent us from enjoying life to its fullest.
Eating crapily makes you feel like crap. If we want to stay healthy, we must learn to properly enjoy a day for indulgence AND we must learn how to let that day end. Remember, when the water cedes, life will take its place.
Our world culture today seems to provide a great vast amount of opportunities for those interested in the bussines and science worlds, at the cost of things like the world of the arts. Many people need the arts as an outlet to help them find peace, and thus life, but are unable to do so in our current societies.
People in the LGBTQIAPK community need just that – a community – in order to find peace. They need their own space and the availability to find peace in our cultures today, if they are ever to find their own truths, or if they are to grow as people.
People who love to paint, make music, or write need the ability to do so without the constraints of fitting into the entertainment world that we have created. They need art-for-art’s-sake in order to find their peace and thus grow, and thus help our world find its liveliness once more.
People who love to teach need the ability to do so and afford basic living expenses at the same time. They need their outlet so they can better equip the children of the world to grow and add life to our world.
Outlets and peace are needed by all, but it is not always prioritized. If we want to acheive greatness, livliness, and a better tomorrow, then we must first supoort our teachers, our artists, our neighbors in the LGBT community, and others who are not currently given enough support to find their outlets and their peace.
The Doctor, from Doctor Who, once said that in over a thousand years of travel through time and space he had never met a single person who was unimportant. I also believe in the importance of every individual. If we find a way to provide more outlets for others who don’t fit our current norms, then I believe that peace will give way to new life in our societies.
Finally, I would like to consider our churches. Often times in the church world, people come to their church events, hang out with their church freinds, and listen to their church music. But they rarely reach outside of the four walls of their own church.
God comanded Adam, Noah, and other patriachs in the book of Genesis
to go fill the Earth. Christ’s last words to the twelve were a command to go out into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15-18). God cares about the WHOLE planet, not just our church’s world.
There is much peace and comfort to be found being with likeminded Christians and worshiping in the safety of our church buildings, but that was never all God wanted from us. We must use church and our church events and etc to equip us to go out into the world. If we never let the waters cede, then no one will ever get to see the life it produces.
Isaiah calls the coming Messiah (whom I profess to be Jesus Christ) the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Isaiah also says this of that same Messiah:
Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed Him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4 &5).
The Prince of Peace endured chastisemnt, so that we could enjoy the peace from which He rules. More so, this Prince of Peace died so that we may all be restored in our relationships to God – this is what Christians call Salvation. Jesus promised that whoever believes in Him and confesses to have faith in Him (Romans 10:9) will have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Peace dies to make room for life. The death of peace is necessary for this reason.
I just took a half-week off for vacation, and I am feeling great and going at life with a whole new ferver because of it. This is what I am talking about. We must take a time of rest (as the Bible commands), so that we can be RESTored in order to better live life to its fullest.
So take your break, help support others in their pursuits of their own outlets, then end your break so that you can use your restored self to enjoy a better life.
There is a song called “Working for the Weekend” where the artist exclaims how we spend five days a week just living for the other two. I say, instead, we use those two days to rest up and truly live in the other five days a week. Let the weekend live for you, not you for the weekend.
One popular outlet for some people is a party. We do not condone the type of party depicted below (as I believe this is the type of spirit that is listed in Galatians 5 as a spirit that will prevent someone from entering the kingdom of Heaven); however, this Key & Peele skit does humoursly depict what can happen when we let our outlets be the end point for our lives – these people are certainly not living life abundantly!
*Warning, video may not be appropiate for all ages*
Reading / Refference list:
- In the Eye of the Storm, by Max Lucado, is an excellent book about the necesity for rest and how even Christ needed outlets in His time.
- The book of Isaiah, in the Bible, is all about what must come in order to acheive peace.
- The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis, speaks much about the dangers of complacency and also not getting rest.