Peace is the ultimate quest of the human soul
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.”
Peace and good tidings; good tidings and peace. These are among the ultimate blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings a troubled world and the troubled people who live in it, solutions to personal struggles and human sinfulness, and a source of strength for days of weariness and hours of genuine despair.
The Only Begotten Son of God Himself who gives us this help and this hope. This search for peace is one of the ultimate quests of the human soul. We all have highs and lows, but such times come and they usually always go. Kind neighbours assist. Beautiful sunshine brings encouragement.
A good night’s sleep usually works wonders. But there are times in all of our lives when deep sorrow or suffering or fear or loneliness makes us cry out for the peace which only God himself can bring. These are times of piercing spiritual hunger when even the dearest friends cannot fully come to our aid.
Perhaps you know people in the country, or in your neighbourhood — or in your own home — courageous people who are carrying heavy burdens and feeling private pain, who are walking through the dark valleys of this world’s tribulation.
Some may be desperately worried about a husband or a wife or a child, worried about their health or their happiness or their faithfulness in keeping the commandments. Some are living with physical pain, or emotional pain, or disabilities that come with age. Some are troubled as to how to make ends meet financially — and some ache with the private loneliness of an empty house or an empty room or simply empty arms.
These beloved people seek the Lord and His word with particular urgency, often revealing their true emotions only when the scriptures are opened or the hymns are sung or prayers are offered. Sometimes only then do the rest of us realize they feel near the end of their strength — they’re tired in brain and body and heart, they wonder if they will get through another week or another day or sometimes just another hour.
They are desperate for the Lord’s help and know that in such times of extremity nothing else will do. Well, at least one of the purposes of this column (The Star of Shiloh) is to declare to the people that the Lord is equally fervent in trying to reach you, that when there is trouble His hopes and His striving and His efforts greatly exceed our own and it never ceases.
We have been promised, “He that keepeth (us) will not slumber . . . nor (will he) sleep.” Christ and His angels and prophets forever labour to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, and send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope.
They wish all to know that “if God be for us, who can be against us?” In the world we shall have tribulation. In Zimbabwe hard times have became the order of the day be they political or economical, we are to be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world Through His suffering and His obedience He has earned and rightly bears the crown of “Prince of Peace.”
For real and abiding peace to come, we must strive to be more like that exemplary Son of God. Many among us are trying to do that. We salute you for your obedience and your forbearance. Some on the other hand, need to make some changes, need to make greater effort in gospel living.
And change we can. The very beauty of the word “repentance” is the promise of escaping old problems and old habits and old sorrows and old sins. It is among the most hopeful and encouraging — and yes, most peaceful — words in the gospel vocabulary.
In seeking true peace some of us need to improve what has to be improved, confess what needs to be confessed, forgive what has to be forgiven, and forget what should be forgotten in order that serenity can come to us. If there is a commandment we are breaking, and as result it is breaking us and hurting those who love us, let us call down the power of Jesus Christ to help us, to free us, to lead us through repentance to that peace.
And when God has forgiven us, may we have the good sense to walk away from those problems, to leave them alone, to let the past bury the past. If one of you has made a mistake, even a serious mistake, but you have done all you can according to the teachings of the Lord and the governance of the Church to confess it and feel sorrow for it and set it as right as can be, then trust in God, walk into His light and leave the ashes behind you.
Someone once said that repentance is “the first pressure we feel when drawn to the bosom of God…” To this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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