The Peacemaker Monthly
Part One – Glorify God
Oceans of Peace
by Cara McLauchlan
“By God’s design, the three dimensions of peace are inseparably joined. As one author expressed it, ‘Peace with God, peace with each other and peace with ourselves come in the same package.’”
– The Peacemaker, page 47
Deep within the ocean there is a place called the “cushion of the sea.” It is so deep that hardly anything ever reaches that unfathomable place of stillness. It is a well of peace that is never moved by forces of nature, weather, storms, life. Nothing affects its depths. It is a perfect state of calm. I was reading about it recently in the great devotional, “Streams in the Desert” by L. B. Cowman.
“Here is a description of this place in the ocean:
“Down beneath the surface that is agitated by storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least, for hundreds and thousands of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance; and he who enters into the presence of God, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm.” Dr. A. T. Pierson
When life gets crazy, I imagine the cushion of the sea and I long for that kind of peace. I crave the ability to know with absolute certainty that God has all of this in His hands. At times, I am absolutely at rest in this kind of unshakeable faith. But more often, I am tossed quickly by a light wind. I am embarrassed and ashamed at how I can be so shaken about by things like snarky emails, bad traffic, or sarcastic comments. It is not typically the big things that rock my sense of peace, it is usually the pile up of little things.
In The Peacemaker, God’s design for peace is described not simply as peace alone with Him or with ourselves, but also with each other. Having peace in all three of these relationships feels elusive to me. Different seasons bring different shades and grades of peace—sometimes I feel truly at peace in my spirit and with God, but not with others. One of the peace trifecta always appears to be missing. Usually, I struggle most with being at peace with others. However, God calls us to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18, KJV).
Everyone? Really? What about my friend whose husband abandoned her? Do I really have to be at peace with him? What about the mom who gave birth to the stillborn baby at twenty-one weeks? How do I tell her that she should be at peace? How do I encourage a heart of peace for my neighbor who recently lost her husband of forty years to cancer? Peace feels elusive and difficult. Any one of the three elements: peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with each other can feel like a high calling, an impossible feat.
But God wants the whole package for us. He does not want us to think that peace is only a good idea for the love we have for Him, but He mandates that we establish it for ourselves and for the way we care for each other. In some ways, I think it is the thing we will always long for which will never truly be satisfied until we are with Him in heaven.
“Therefore, peacemaking is not an optional activity for a believer. If you have committed your life to Christ, he invites you to draw on his grace and commands you to seek peace with others” (page 56).
When I struggle with peace, I think of the lovely image of the cushion of the sea. I imagine the vast calm and quiet, with tiny but powerful rays of light that reach down like fingers from God. I think God wants so much more for us than we can possibly imagine. He longs for us to trust Him with this unshakeable kind of peace that only He can create. Only a loving God can make available oceans of peace in Him. When we can let go of our small-minded visions of how things should be in the world, we can truly rest in the oceans of peace He so lavishly bestows upon us.
Read Along in The Peacemaker
Read Part 1 – Chapter 2 (pages 43-58)
Read Part 1 – Chapter 3 (pages 59-73)
- What is your vision of peace?
- Where do you struggle most with peace: with yourself, with God, or with each other?
- How do you forgive unforgiveable things?
- When you struggle with peace, how do you handle it?
- What has helped you most when you struggle with peace?
- Do you think it is possible to be at peace with yourself, God, and each other all at the same time?
- What scriptures have helped remind you of the “oceans of peace” available to us in God?
- Describe a time when you felt at perfect peace. What was it like? What qualities made it truly peaceful?