Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peace and Parasailing

When I was in college I had the chance to go parasailing in Hawaii. I remember paying my money and boarding the boat that was to take us out into the ocean. The boat captain had this maniacal laugh and a crazy look in his eyes as he took off. He floored it and we went tearing all over the water in the high winds. The 6 of us, all strangers to one another, seemed terrified as we held--white-knuckled--onto the boat for dear life. Once we got out into the ocean a bit, he slowed down, turned around and asked, "Who's first?!?"

Needless to say, I didn't volunteer.

Nobody did, in fact. Which meant the captain got to choose the first victim. Sensing my sheer terror (and undoubtedly preying on it), he picked me.

I was having serious second thoughts at this point. I mean, if I was having to hold on for dear life down in a boat, did I really want this guy dragging me through the sky, attached to the boat by a rope and some fabric? No, thank you.

Seemed I couldn't get out of it though. So they hooked me up and before I knew it, I was drifting up into the air. But I wasn't expecting what happened next...the higher up I went, the quieter it got, and the further up the chute carried me, the calmer the winds seemed. I could still see the now-tiny people down on the boat, still whipping around the water and getting wind-blown, but my own experience was become more and more different than theirs. And by the time I was up a few hundred feet, it was dead silent and the winds were completely calm. I just took in the magnificent view.
If ever there was a time that I really "got" what peace is, it was in those moments. We talk about "Peace on Earth" a lot this time of year, but what does that even mean? I don't think it's the absence of calamity, but rather a quietness in the midst of it, because we know that God is God, and that's plenty sufficient. As I drifted along way up in the air, chaos was not far away. It was visible to me, but I was not experiencing it. Up there I only knew quiet...and peace.
There's chaos in life, and if you're not up against calamity today, it's rounding the corner, for sure. But in Jesus Christ we can experience something different than those who don't know Him. We can fully acknowledge our circumstances without being tossed to and fro by them. We stand firm in Him.
Lord God, You are the Prince of Peace, and You live in me. I am indwelled with peace! Thank you that, in You, I can see chaos and calamity all around while walking in peace in the midst of it.

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