Steve Hatch of Leawood, KS, USA
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. -Galatians 5:22-25
In the mid-1980s, my faith was in crisis. I experienced what many theologians call the “dark night of the soul.” The crisis offered no resolution, and it felt like God had abandoned me. I was alone to deal with my darkness, and I felt all my pleading was fruitless. I kept asking God why this was happening, and why God wasn’t helping. The more I prayed, the more distant from God I felt.
One week amid my darkness, I went to Sunday school, where we were studying the parables. We explored the parable of the mustard seed. The author suggested one important lesson from this parable is the need to plant our seed in faith, leave it alone, and allow God to provide the germination. We must leave the seed alone and let it “die” as a seed so it can become the tree that God intended.
Instead, we sometimes dig up the seed to make sure it’s viable and still growing. That, of course, keeps it from doing exactly that…growing as God created it to do. As I heard these words, I realized I never had left my issue with God. I hadn’t planted my seed with faith that God would provide the germination. That day I committed to leave my seed planted in God\’s fertile soil, which would allow my faith to grow to maturity.
“Led by the Holy Spirit, we work with God and others to restore peace (shalom) to creation” (https://www.cofchrist.org/enduring-principles).
Embodying God’s Shalom
Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace and wholeness. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s people, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.
What images, feelings, and words come to you? What prayer for peace comes to you from your time of listening? Speak or write this prayer. What act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking does God invite you to consider this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.