Road tripping this past summer delivered our family to the door of the Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota. It’s a beauty, right?! Old lighthouses and their histories fascinate me.
I am not a person who typically enjoys museums, yet it is difficult to tear me away from the display boards at a lighthouse museum. I enjoy reading about the challenges people faced in building their lighthouses, the sacrifices they made in doing their jobs, and the ships lost off the rocky shores. But, mostly I love imagining what a solitary life by the water might have been like.
In my mind, lighthouses conjure up images of peace. Yes, there were stormy days where I am sure things at the lighthouse went all kinds of crazy. It was not an easy life by any means. But, imagine a sunny day with a calm breeze or a still moonlit night. Can you picture the keeper climbing up and around that open circle of metal stairs, taking a deep breath, and looking out over forever? That is how I imagine peace.
I have learned some new things about peace lately. Did you know the Bible refers to three different kinds of peace?
- Peace of God is the calm center we can find in the midst of life’s storms. It soothes us when worries or other emotions seem overwhelming. Sometimes it comes through someone’s words or their calming hand on our shoulder. Sometimes we simply find it within ourselves. This peace reminds us that God is only good, and that he works all things together for our good. We can find joy even on troubling days, when we feel this kind of peace. Peace of God = Peace with our Emotions.
Related Scripture: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV) (emphasis mine)
Application: Feeling the peace of God every day is challenging. I am a work in progress, and God understands this. Waves of trouble and tragedy rock my boat without warning. I can prepare my heart to meet these waves more skillfully by practicing prayer and thanksgiving even on less stressful days. I can also work to identify and process my emotions instead of letting them run away with me.
- Peace with God is the reassurance we receive through faith. This kind of peace comes from trusting God to provide for us and take care of us, in this life and the next. For Christians, this peace comes through a belief in salvation – meaning Jesus died to deliver us from sin and bring eternal life. Peace with God = Peace with our Spiritual Beliefs.
Related Scripture: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 King James Version (KJV) (emphasis mine)
Application: Finding a lasting peace with God requires me to keep learning and growing in faith. I believe faith is a journey, not a destination. God is okay with wherever I am at on the journey, as long as I keep making travel plans. Each person has their own itinerary.
- Peace with Others is a stillness we find inside when the people around us push our buttons. It allows us to rest in the fact that we cannot change the words or actions of someone else. We are given courage through this peace to change what is our responsibility, and we leave the rest up to God. Achieving this peace often requires the challenging work of forgiveness. Peace with Others = Peace with our Relationships.
Related Scripture: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 (NIV) (emphasis mine)
Application: Seeking peace with others actually helps me identify my own fears and weaknesses. Once I see these obstacles, I can take responsibility to move towards peace on my end. I can work to remember it is not my responsibility to handle anyone else’s obstacles.
Do you think the keepers at the Split Rock Lighthouse sought these three types of peace? I am inclined to think so.
For the first fourteen years of its operation, Split Rock Lighthouse was only accessible by water. Due to the remote and difficult life, many keepers and their families lived apart most of the year. Visitors and deliveries were infrequent, requiring the keeper and the assistants to repair their own equipment, keep records, and ration supplies. They rotated in 4 hour shifts every night, always keeping a vigilant eye on the weather and their beacon of light. When visibility fell below five miles, the foghorn would sound its warning every twenty seconds. That kind of life surely longed for a heart full of peace.
We have different challenges today, but finding peace still requires hard work. Each type of Biblical peace calls for us to involve God in attaining it. Scripture tells us the peace of God will come when we cast our worries onto him. Striving to live with faith brings peace with God. And, finally, God helps us find peace with others through forgiveness and evaluating responsibility.
God sees our daily stress, doubt, and struggle. He waits patiently for us to make the choice to involve him. Then, like any tireless keeper of the light, he helps us find our way.
This Week’s Prayer:
The Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
To read more about the Split Rock Lighthouse click right here.