In the King James Version of the American Standard Bible there are 400 verses that mention the word “peace”. The BARNES’ NOTES commentary on a passage from Philippians 4:7,
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding…..”
writes that “this peace is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our needs, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God.”
“….shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The commentary goes on to say that ‘shall keep’ was translated from a military term meaning guarded and preserved lending further definition of peace as freedom guarded from the intrusion of anxious fears and alarms.
LET GO – LET GOD
In my first recovery meeting room, those framed words were hanging on the wall in front of me. “What in the world does that mean? Let go of what? How does a man do that?” Not an easy undertaking for an alcoholic dedicated to self-will run riot for his entire life. “Absolutely not, I will not surrender anything to something I can’t see, touch or talk to.”
I was urged by the others, sitting at the tables sharing their stories, to embrace steps 1, 2, and 3, the surrender steps of the 12 step program which had graced their lives with sustained sobriety.
1) Admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable. 2) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3) Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.
Surrender – once and done? Not really. It became a daily practice which for most of us continues even after years of sobriety. It directly affects the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding. Without surrender I will not enjoy peace. Without peace, life once again becomes unmanageable and insane.
This way of living, sober-living, is not about religion and Bible passages. Neither is it about performing the 12 step programs perfectly until completion. It is the way we approach all of life’s challenges and surprises. It is an ongoing surrender to the energy which we call Higher Power.
One of my most trusted prayers is the prayer of St. Francis. It begins:
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace…..”
When I reflect on those words, it is not a request to send me out into the world as a peacemaker among friends, peoples or nations. No, it is directed inwardly to create a space within which is free of worry and anxiety. The world’s insanity will probably not embrace peace in this day, but I can. Join me?