The Good Word  

December 1998

This you will understand with your heart . . . with your head too:

A langorous day in spring - gentle breezes - warm shade by the lapping shore - an eyepleasing horizon of new color.  The medley of bird sound seals the harmony twixt heaven and earth.  Your peace, and one-ness, are a precious interlude to the other.  The other, not always peaceful parts of you.
How shall we have the surpassing peace of the day described above on a continuing basis?  How to escape the cacophony of conflict and stress, so common to life?

Where is this peace, "which transcends all understanding?" (Philippians 4:7)  It is a place apart, a place to which we are all called:  "Enter your rooms, and shut the door behind you; hide yourselves for a little while . . ." (Isaiah 26:20)  It is there that we find the gate of heaven, the doorway to peace and serenity.
But heaven is a place, too, of action.  A few peeks through the doorway show a society of praise.  How can it be that the habitants of heaven never stop praising God?  "Great and marvelous are your deeds . . ."  (Revelation 15:3; 4:8)

The deeds of God are recounted again and again in Scriptures.  They inspire the highest flights of praise and adoration by King David in the Psalms.  For example,

        "Praise the Lord, O my soul;
                All my inmost being,
                        Praise his holy name.
        Praise the Lord, O my soul;
                And forget not
                        all his benefits - - -
        Who satisfies your desires,
                With good things,
        So that your youth is renewed,
                Like the eagles." (Psalm 103:1,2,5)

On every occasion of God's delivering from expected disaster, a songster appears to celebrate and to praise.  When Israel escaped sure death at the hands of the Pharaoh, Moses and Miriam sang:

        "Sing to the Lord,
                For he is highly exalted.
        The horse and its rider,
                He has hurled into the sea." (Exodus 15:1,21)

This then is a first principle of peace: praise, especially of God.

How often, in anguish of soul, plunged into the other, the not peaceful parts of our lives, we sit as dumb brute beasts.  Even in church, perhaps no word of praise or song of joy escapes our lips.

Rather, we look downward to the troubles and travails common to all men, and imagine ourselves specially cursed.  Inner tempests ravage our souls.

But peace is nearby.  Look up!

        "I lift up my eyes to the hills ---
                Where does my help come from?
        My help comes from the Lord,
                The maker of heaven and earth."(Psalm 121:1,2)

Lift up your eyes from yourself and behold the mighty works of God.  If nothing comes to mind, maybe a jaunt to the ocean, the vista of a majestic mountain or the busy quietude of a babbling forest stream will help.

A second powerful principle of peace is gratitude.

There is perhaps no more powerful and healthy emotion than gratitude.  Again and again from the Psalmist: "Give thanks to the Lord, . . ." (Psalm 107:1 and many others)

Praise and gratitude are twins.  Both require a focus beyond ourselves.  And therein lies a substantial measure of their health imparting properties.

If we do not feel moved to praise and thankfulness, it is a sure sign that we are far from the understanding shared in heaven.

It is no accident that heaven is continually filled with praise and gratitude.  It is a natural consequence of awareness and knowledge of the Sovereign there.
Absence of praise and gratitude proves absence of accurate awareness and knowledge of God and his mighty acts.  Remedy this for yourself and others and you, too, will catch the chorus, the chorus of praise and peace.

Your friend, Herb Sorensen