‘There is no peace except the peace of God.’
Seek you no further. You will not find peace except the peace of God. Accept this fact, and save yourself the agony of yet more bitter disappointments, bleak despair, and sense of icy hopelessness and doubt. Seek you no further. There is nothing else for you to find except the peace of God, unless you seek for misery and pain.
Come home. You have found your happiness in foreign places in and in alien forms that have no meaning to you, though you sought to make them meaningful. This world is not where you belong. You are a stranger here. But it is given you to find the means whereby the world no longer seems to be a prison house or jail for anyone.
Today we seek no idols. Peace cannot be found in them. The peace of God is ours, and only this will we accept and want. We seek no further. We are close to home, and draw still nearer every time we say:
There is no peace except the peace of God.
And I am glad and thankful it is so.
I read the whole lesson (about a thousand words) twice through today, and then randomly turned to the manual for teachers section of the book and landed on the heading ‘What is the peace of God?’ It isn’t often that I add anything else from the manual to these lessons but as I’ve not been feeling at peace for so long, I was struck by what I read.
It has been said that there is a kind of peace that is not of this world. How is it recognised? How is it found? And being found, how can it be retained? …How is the peace of God retained, once it is found? Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return. War is again accepted as the one reality. Now must you once again lay down your sword, although you do not recognise that you have picked it up again.
In an instant I understood what I’d done. I had, unknowingly, picked up the sword of anger, frustration, guilt, and thoughts of lack; all the fear-based emotions that I had successfully relinquished when I sat in God’s peace. I had begun to do battle with the world again, and only succeeded in making myself sick and miserable. Reading those words was like someone shining a big light onto me and showing me the futility of what I was doing. I was horrified. Then I began to laugh.
I visualised myself laying down a heavy sword that I’ve been wielding, and instantly felt peace return, like someone poured it in from the top of my head and it flowed to every cell in my body. I was stunned. Could it be this easy? Then I remembered a passage from Lesson 196 (para 4) ‘It is not time we need for this. It is willingness. For what would seem to need a thousand years can easily be done in just one instant but the grace of God.’
I felt happy. The mountain of worries that had been slowly building suddenly shrunk to the pile of dust they really are. With inner peace, the peace of God, there is no space to engage in worry.
But when did I pick up the sword again? With some reflection I recognised that it was a gradual process. Watching a bit too much TV, engaging in a few too many blame conversations, harbouring thoughts of lack, and a few too many ‘how dare they?’ It all added up, and before I knew it the sword was back in my hand and being wielded. It’s no wonder I was tired and sick; all that takes a lot of effort, a lot of energy.
But I’ve put the sword down now. I sent emails of love to those people I’d felt the need to point out their faults to them. One responded immediately, and had, indeed, been trying to contact me to enquire of my welfare, while I was still in blame mode.
I had forgotten that in my defencelessness my safety lies, and began to defend myself. I’ve remembered now, and have found peace again. I’ve come home.