PEACE: God’s Care Brings Him to the Waste Places

Peace seems like an elusive thing

It has been & remains one of my heartfelt prayers to be a man of peace & a man at peace… but prayer hasn’t been granted… yet. Perhaps you aren’t like this, but at times… more often than I would like to admit… there is a roiling in my soul. A dissatisfaction with the chaos around me… of small children, of discontent parishioners, of corrupt and incompetent leader

Rich Mullins, Hold Me Jesus:

“It’s so hot inside my soul, I swear there must be blisters on my heart.”

I just want to walk way… find some quiet corner of the world… and look for peace there. I suppose we hope for retirement to be that respite… But rest is elusive, is it not? Peace escapes us.

The prophets spoke about the coming of a savior that would bring peace…

Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
    together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
    the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
    you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
    before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
    the salvation of our God.

God reigns! And his reign brings peace! One of the ways it brings peace is through caring… bring comfort and healing to the waste places in our lives. God’s reign displays strength (‘bares his holy arm’) but strength does not exclude caring. In fact, without strength, caring can become impossible. Hurting places need a care that has the backing of strength… but a strength without compassion… caring… would never go to the hurting places. Strength would never know the need to the scary places.

What kind of places are frightening for you? Not talking about heights or closed spaces.

Places of crime & violence? Places that remind you of limitations? Places of mental & emotional trauma?

I have worked with folks who go to some scary places. Police officers, fireman, yes; but talking about addiction counselors. Addiction is one of the waste places of life… hurt, trauma lead to some kind of self-medication in alcohol, drugs… and it takes over. Empties out a life of financial resources, relationship, reason to live.

I can think of a young man… promising student, athlete… but pressure of adolescence, expectations to perform were heavy on him… and when he was prescribed oxycodone for sports injury, he liked the way it seemed to set him free from anxieties. A dependence led to an addiction… addiction led to his life becoming a waste place.

Friends and colleagues like Amy, Mike, Steve… walk into those places to bring restoration, healing… and that takes strength. But it takes an even bigger heart, compassion, caring.

The Lord looks upon this world… with its self-ambition spawning wars in Ukraine or Central Africa… with its corporate corruption ruining the livelihood of works in the West… with the selfishness of common people destroying marriages and families… and he sees the waste places all around. He has the strength to wipe it all clean and start over But in care, he walks into those waste places to bring redemption… to turn mourning to rejoicing.

And as he brings care… healing… we can know rest and peace. That plan of redemption is put into play in coming of Christ child! God reigns in strength… in caring… in giving us his very presence. I pray that as you come to believe that, you know his peace as well.

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