((from Natalie))

Hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes… oh my!  There are plenty of legitimate reasons to feel panic and worry and dread, and that’s just referencing the current happenings of our natural world, let alone the relationships between nations and the details of our individual lives. It’s emotionally exhausting to watch 30 seconds of the news.

So what do we do? When our life on Earth hurls circumstances that grip our hearts with anxieties, how is it that we can find peace? Where do we turn?

Here’s a little nugget of truth that is essential to our spiritual well-being: peace is not a feeling to conjure up, or even a state of cognitive mental transcendence.  Peace is found in a person, with a name: Jehovah-Shalom

Before the Prince of Peace (Jesus) came on the scene, there was the Old Testament’s name for God’s identity – Jehovah-Shalom or “The Lord is Peace.”  The Old Testament makes reference to him just once in the book of Judges, which tells the story of Gideon.  It’s a classic tale of warring-nations, an unlikely and ill-equipped hero gripped by fear, and a concerned and invested God revealing His character to His people.  In the story we see that no amount of hiding or preparation could relieve Gideon of fear; only the presence of His Peace made for Gideon to go from zero to hero.  In the end, Gideon is the victor of course, but only because God showed up as Shalom.

According to Strong’s Concordance – ‘Shalom’ means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord. 

By that definition, Shalom certainly sounds like the antidote to all our fears, doesn’t it?

Are you fearful?

Do you feel ill equipped for what lies before you?

Do you too seek fullness of life and tranquility of soul?

Let’s allow Gideon’s life experience to remind us today, that what we must seek, is not an absence of circumstance but a presence of His Shalom.  Let us rest in the reminder that our souls can be governed by Faith and our present moment over-ridden by His present peace.

And if you’ve known Shalom, let us remember.  When we encounter Jehovah-Shalom it is important to do as Gideon did:

“So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” Judges 6:24 

We have created an annual tradition in our family.  Every July, we invite friends and family to participate in something we have called the Runner Challenge.  It’s a perennial reminder of the Shalom we encountered in July of 2015.  The peace that overrode the experience of losing our daughter.  It was an excruciatingly painful time, but Jehovah-Shalom showed up, giving us power and strength.  It was His peace that allowed for transcendent abilities like a father being an anchor of calm in a hospital delivery room and a mom eulogizing her daughter 7 days later. The altar of our annual Runner Challenge is our family’s reminder that the love of our God can equip us to do the unimaginable.

Does your story have an altar built?  Have you encountered the Jehovah-Shalom or the Prince of Peace in a time when circumstance would permiss you to be anything but peaceful?

I encourage you to reflect and remember, and if you haven’t, then build and name your altar.  The world needs to see altars, we need reminders to look too when circumstance turns heavy again.

The Jewish people have a tradition of greeting one another with the Hebrew: “Shalom, Shalom.”  It’s used as both a “Hello” and “Goodbye” and is also expressed for peace within and without.

Hopers, I pray that for you, for the troubles of your hearts. I pray for you to have a filling of Peace today, in your comings and goings. PEACE be with you.

Just before He was killed, Jesus said to his disciples  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”


Shalom, Shalom.

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