We are living in tense times. In the US, communities, friends, and families are divided over the presidential election. In nations all over the world there are tensions, even wars being fought over divisions of race, culture, religion, gender, size, sexual orientation, and more. It is frightening not to know what the future holds, and even more frightening to believe that what the future holds is devastating.
But God promised that there would be peace. We may not know when or how that peace will come. It might be the end of war, or it might just be a reconciliation with a loved one. It might be leaders of nations coming together for a common goal, or it might be a settling contentment within one’s own soul about a contentious situation. However God’s peace is revealed, we can be assured that war, tensions, upheaval, and brokenness do not have the final say. God’s power and peace are stronger than any hatred or division we can muster. Maybe the first step toward peace is being willing to consider that we might not be wholly right, and then listen to the other side. Maybe we could become willing to accept the differences we hold, and learn to love with tolerance and humility.
We all have choices. We can cut off the people we love because of their differing opinions. Or we can let those we love with differing opinions shape us as we learn, grow, and accept each other. My own household has been bitterly divided by the US presidential election. My spouse is polar opposite from myself politically. But we love each other desperately. On the night of the election, when we went to bed weary and distressed, we chose not to let attitudes, beliefs, or tensions stand between us. We hugged each other and I said, “I love you, republican.” He responded, “I love you, democrat.” Peace became more valuable than battle. Love remained stronger than hatred. That night we saw a glimpse of God’s peaceful kingdom, and it was a beautiful sight to behold.
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.