Heather Caliri wrote an endearingly honest article on iBelieve.com about cutting certain things out of her schedule (mainly social media) just one day a week to see if it would lessen her anxiety. This no-stress day, or what Christians usually call Sabbath Day “did not feel magical,” she said. But she noticed a difference, even if it was difficult, and “little by little” she “began to feel less anxious every day of the week.” Her search for peace felt so relatable, which made sense as soon as she reminded me that “keeping the sabbath is an example set by God, and a command from Him to His people.” Woah. Regular rest is a command from the God of peace. It’s in his name, after all.
Joel Ryan gets into the nitty-gritty of God’s identity as Jehovah-Shalom, which he said means “The Lord is Peace,” on Christianity.com. He writes about the story of Gideon, when God first revealed himself as Jehovah Shalom. “In the days of Gideon, the children of Israel were living in a constant state of fear and trepidation. Gideon was not immune from the surge of anxiety and wave of uncertainty that had swept the nation.” Maybe we modern folks can possibly (definitely) sometimes (with every notification) relate? This was when God appeared to the stressed-out man we now know as Gideon with an inspiring pep talk and reminder of God’s trustworthy character (Judges 6).
Have You Been Outside Today?: The Spiritual Cost of Isolation from Creation on Christian Headlines
God is Jehovah-Shalom who instructed his people not only to trust that peace is part of his character, but also to be at peace ourselves. Rest on the Sabbath and enjoy creation, as John Stonestreet wrote about on ChristianHeadlines.com. “Whether it’s our temperature-regulated homes and offices, our glowing screens, or our asphalt jungles, much of our lives happen in an artificial world designed to insulate us from nature,” they lament. Peace and connection to God’s creation isn’t something that’s well integrated into most modern days. It’s not automatic like the ole timey farm days gone by. We have to be intentional about it – seek it out. “Now, I realize I’m a bit privileged, living in Colorado Springs, where Pike’s Peak is visible from just about every west-facing window,” he admits. “But opportunities to experience the majesty of God’s creation are everywhere.” Stonestreet suggests this leads to a “greater sense of awe about God and His world” as well as a “better understanding of His Word.” What’s more peaceful than that?
Richaed Lee Sorensen brought some balance to my notions of peace in his Crosswalk.com article about the few times in the Bible where Jesus gets a little…testy. Some might say angry. He drew my attention to Matthew 23:1-4 when Jesus yells at some hypocritical religious leaders in what Sorensen called the most vocal display of Jesus’ anger. “He is pronouncing woes upon the teachers of the law for not practicing what they preach, and in the way they were horribly leading those put under their care,” he said.
So peace isn’t always a scented candle flickering by your yoga mat or a leisurely walk along a path around your local reservoir. Jesus himself, Jehovah-Shalom incarnate, showed us that peace is sometimes loud, yet always just.
Peace to you, reader,
Emily Hall, Christianity.com editor
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