-Rev Joanne Walker Flowers, PhD-
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 CEB
On April 3, 1974, I found myself crouching in the corner of my dorm room waiting out a direct hit by a Category 5 tornado. When the storm had passed, outside we found everything damaged or destroyed. It was like a scene out of a disaster movie. Cars tossed against buildings were rolled up like Danish rolls. Buildings were flattened or huge sections missing. The water tower had fallen on top of the student health center building. Live farm animals were stuck in trees. There was no electricity and the water was of questionable quality.
On campus, we were cut off from the closest town and trapped on campus for the night. About twenty of us took refuge in the basement of the dormitory as we sat out the unrelenting tornadic conditions. As one would expect, emotions were running high. We were afraid and fear was expressed as anger, frustration, worry, and anxiety. After what we had experienced that day, we couldn’t help but dread what was to come.
I can honestly say most of us were not at peace with our circumstances and trusting God. We were struggling with our emotions when we needed the “peace of God that exceeds all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) This is the peace Jesus gives us.
Over the years, life has given me other opportunities to choose peace in difficult times. It’s not always easy but it’s a choice and how I respond is a measure of my spiritual growth. Jesus has given us something the world desperately needs and I believe desires. Peace is a wonderful gift from God. And when we have cultivated the fruit of peace within ourselves, we can then bring peace to any situation.
Lord, please remind me to walk in peace as you did. Let me remember to bring peace not confusion or chaos to any circumstance you bring my way. I do not want to respond as the world but to be the light of peace to others who have lost their way. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
Joanne Walker Flowers is ordained clergy in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a ministry of health and healing.