"Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. The wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace."
~James 3:13, 17-18
When I read these words, I can't help but picture my grandma's smiling face. The life she led was pure and peaceful, and she was a peacemaker by the way she conducted herself. There was no evidence of strife, tension, or resentment in her demeanor. She lived honestly, thoughtfully, and wisely, and she seemed to be at peace with everything and everyone.
I don't think I ever saw my grandma worried, upset, or fearful. Things that rattle my nerves didn't seem to faze her. Why can't I have that calm assurance and peaceful spirit she possessed? But this week I have been realizing that maybe I can.
It all began with a dream. I was entering into heaven. I saw the faces of those who'd gone before me. My dad, my grandparents, and others were there, cheering me on as though I was crossing the finish line in a race. They jumped up and down with excitement, arms opened wide to welcome me. There was no thought or sadness about who I was leaving behind, because I could sense in my spirit they would be joining us when their race was over. I was overwhelmed with joy to see those I'd been separated from for so long.
After I woke up and pondered my dream, I realized it had a powerful message for me. Death, the one thing that has held an element of fear for me, no longer has any power to frighten me. In fear's place is peace. Pure, penetrating peace has flooded my spirit this week. And if I can experience peace in the one area that has always been a challenge for me, I can have peace in every aspect of my life. I want that peace, and I want to be a peacemaker like my grandma. This is the legacy I want to leave behind.
My dream reminds me we are all running a race. I don't want to get so distracted and dragged down by the things of this world that I get off course. But there's another thing. We all run different races. Some of us have only a quick jaunt until we cross that finish line. Others, like my grandma, run a long race. It's not the length that counts, it's how we run our race...and what awaits us as we find ourselves at the end of it. "Well done!" and a cheerful welcome is what I want to encounter at the end of my journey. As D. L. Moody once said, "A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do is to enter into it." I think my grandma knew this. And it's how I want to finish my race.
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
"I am leaving you with a gift ~ peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."
"May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way."
~2 Thessalonians 3:16
"Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel."
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as member of one body you were called to peace. And be thankkul."