Pursuit of Peace

indexTurn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

We cannot just expect to receive or find peace or reside in it. We must seek and pursue it.

In our instant-access culture, we often expect for things to come easily and quickly. We define “search” as a few key strokes to get immediate access to everything we need or want. That is not God’s typical way. The process of pursuit is rewarding, even necessary at times to choose well and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

The pursuit of peace is more about our pursuit of God than achieving peace.

When the Rabbit Loses

Rabbit running in snow.I drove under the speed limit the day after it snowed to avoid any surprising patches on the road. The deep ditches were completely filled from the snow from one snowfall after another. All the cars in the line took their time, but I noticed someone in a rush.

As I glanced to my right, I saw a rabbit straining to run with everything he had. I didn’t see anything chasing him. He wasn’t darting from side to side as rabbits often do. He was focused. Perhaps he was racing the cars.

I chuckled as I thought about the fable of the tortoise and the hare. We all know the hare should have easily beat the tortoise, but he took his speed for granted. He could have easily beat that tortoise, but here was a rabbit running with all his might beside a line of cars, and he was losing ground. Even his best effort wasn’t going to beat the faster cars.

We all have to strain to keep up with something.

Is it the “something” that is so important, or the “somewhere”?

Where are you headed? Do you even know, or are you too focused on the strain of forward motion? You don’t want to lose ground, so you don’t slow down enough to make sure you know where you’re headed.

Maybe that rabbit actually had a purpose, a destination. But maybe he was just running because that’s what everyone around him was doing. If it was a race, he was losing, especially if he didn’t know where he was going or why.

Slow down today and look around. Do you know where you are? Do you know where you’re going? Do you know why, and is it a good reason?

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Blind Spots

Good thing we had an experienced, confident driver.eye.275155757_std

As we rode through the mountains, we turned sharp corners on narrow roads. We were in a van, and when we met another vehicle our size, there was little room for error. Usually, there was a sharp drop off on at least one side of the road. Often times, a house had been built on the slope, positioned so that if a vehicle careened off the road, it would land on, or in, the house. But our driver was no stranger to the winding roads.

When the road seemed to disappear into nowhere because it tightly wrapped the turn in the mountain, he honked the horn as we approached. He didn’t slow down and wait for a response. He must have known the timing he needed to listen for a reply horn and slow down enough to avoid a disastrous head-on collision. He wasn’t careless. To the contrary, he took great care. He drove faster and closer to the edge than any of us on the van would have, but that was because he had driven the roads many times and was much more comfortable. Even though the blind spots could have posed danger, his familiarity with them and the way he approached them gave us confidence in him.

We approach blind spots on a daily basis. How we deal with them tells much about our experience, trust, and confidence. Just because we can’t see what is around the corner doesn’t mean we should assume everything will be okay. Nor does it mean we have to be paralyzed by fear, so hesitant to proceed that we end up wreaking more havoc than we feared. Focusing on the blind spot too much or too little can be disastrous. Accepting it as something we have to deal with along the journey keeps it in perspective. When we focus on it, the blind spot becomes our temporary destination. Instead, it’s something we need to acknowledge, treat with respect, and proceed through.

That doesn’t mean we barrel into the future with no regard for what can happen. It doesn’t mean we’re never going to have a close call, hit something head-on, or run off the road. But it means we do what we can to trust God for the warnings we might need. We honk our horn and remind ourselves and God that our journey is His journey, that He knows a lot more about the road map than we do, that we commit to Him, including His prompts for us to take caution or proceed.

What blind spots might be in your path today? How will you approach them? You might as well trust God, the only one who isn’t blind to anything.

Lesson from Nature: Interruptions as Reminders

©PurePurpose.org
©PurePurpose.org

I was surprised to see trees in the middle of the road. I laughed at the signs, directing drivers to go around. I assume very few would run right into the tree. Perhaps they just wanted to make sure everyone knows which side of the tree to go around. Wouldn’t it have been easier to take out the tree when they made the road? But then I thought,

…if only we allowed more interruptions to be reminders.

We don’t have to clear everything out of our lives just because it’s convenient. We can get so determined to get from point A to point B that we want as straight a line as possible. But when we focus on the horizon, we don’t take the time to notice what’s around us. Slowing down to avoid bumps, debris, or even trees in the road helps us notice what would otherwise be a blur. It certainly might be easier to create a straight line, but what would we miss along the way? How might we “zone out” and reach our destination without experiencing the journey.

We easily become results-oriented. We consider what we need to do, then attack it (or sometimes, we avoid it). Accomplishment is revered as a strength. The farther we get, the more kudos we get from others and the better we feel about ourselves. But what are we missing in the process? Just because we feel good about something doesn’t mean it’s something good.

God isn’t content with good enough. He has the best in store for us…if we’ll trust Him along the journey. He’ll give us moments when we speed down the road, perhaps even faster than we want at that time. He’ll give us seasons in which we feel stuck but learn patience and perseverance. Then, there are the times the road seems to be straight but has a little swerve in it. As we avoid the tree, we notice something beside the road: a glimpse of beauty, a warning sign, or a hidden trail.

Pay attention. It’s our journey, but His road.

I know, Lord, that a man’s way of life is not his own; no one who walks determines his own steps.

(Jeremiah 10:23)