In these days of dealing with the coronavirus there has been much discussion about how things like viruses and germs spread. There has also been talk about how a person can spread a virus without realizing they are doing it.
Some things have been spread more widely and quickly than the coronavirus. Fear, anxiety, tension and stress have spread and infected people everywhere. Some people spend much time anxiously contemplating all the different things that might happen. As the fear has spread, sleep has been lost, relationships have been strained and faith has been threatened.
Fear gets spread by spending much time listening to the news, but not much time listening to God’s Word. Stress is spread when your thoughts focus more on what bad things might happen rather than on what God has done. Tension rises when you dwell on what you and other people should be doing, and you don’t spend much time thinking about what the Lord is doing.
It is easy to become a “fear spreader.” Similar to the virus, a person may spread anxiety even if they don’t intend to. One person’s worry and lack of faith can be caught by others around them.
Our world needs “peace spreaders.” Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). The first kind of peace we want to make is between people and God. Jesus is the true peacemaker. “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18). We share Jesus with people so that they can enjoy the great gift of peace with God.
We also long to see peace grow in people’s souls. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). He wants to see peace spreading in people’s hearts and minds. He wants to calm fearful, troubled hearts.
When some people enter a room tension and disputing seems to rise. Other people cause the peace level to rise with their presence. They spread a peace that is infectious.
Peacemakers are used by God to make peace between people. Anger and attacks abound in our world. “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace” (Psalm 120:7). We too live among people who relish conflict. We are called, by God’s grace, to stand out in contrast as people of peace who desire and work for peace. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone” (Hebrews 12:14).
One day recently, as I walked along the river the water was very peaceful and calm. As I looked at the scene I thought of how it was a contrast from so many lives. Many souls are like turbulent, storm-tossed seas. It can be different. God wants to help so that even in the midst of stormy days, our souls resemble peaceful, still waters.