Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finding Peace....

Etty Hillsum was a Jewish woman, imprisoned by the Nazis.  She perished on Nov. 30th, 1943 at Auschwitz.  She wrote about peace in one of the least peaceful moments of her life. She made a note in her journal in Sept. 1942 (which was about a year before she died) of Matthew 6:34; "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. --- "   

Then she wrote this:  

“We have to fight them daily like fleas, those small worries about tomorrow, for they sap our energies.  We make mental provision for the days to come, and yet everything turns out differently, quite differently.  Sufficient unto the day.  The things that have to be done must be done, and for the rest we must not allow ourselves to become infested with thousands of petty fears and worries, so many motions of no confidence in God. — Ultimately we have just one moral duty; to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others.  And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.”  —  Etty Hillesum

Etty lays out her plan for peace quite beautifully.  And it starts with not allowing ourselves to "become infested with thousands of petty fears and worries" about tomorrow, for that will "sap our energies" that we need for today.  We who claim to be Christ-followers must stop the many motions of "no confidence in God", and truly walk the walk.  The world is watching. Are we setting an example of confidence in God, or not?  

Also, I love how she calls "reclaiming peace in ourselves" as a moral duty.  WHOA.  That kind of slapped me in the face!  That means that finding peace isn't just something that is a nice suggestion for better living, but a MORAL DUTY to one another.  Have you ever thought about it like that?  I sure haven't!   But it makes sense to me now.  We live in such a broken and troubled world.  WE are broken and troubled!   I can hardly stand to turn on the news for it breaks my heart to see the evil, sad, lonely, hurting MESS that we live in.  How do we find PEACE in the midst of all THAT???   

Well, we start with finding it in ourselves.  Do you feel like your soul is a peaceful soul?  Are you are peaceful person?  No?  Well, me neither!   But I am working on it these days and I can start to feel progress towards it.  I think THAT is the key.  If everyone started working on finding their own peace, within themselves, then I think it would eventually create the peace in the world that we are all looking for.  How could the world NOT be peaceful if it was inhabited by a bunch of peaceful people, right?   

You know the common phrase, "Be the change that you want to see in the world", right?  Well, I do think that there is truth in that sentence.  Everyone is screaming on social media about how messed up everything is right now, but no one is offering change within themselves in order to fix it.  Everyone has dug in their heels and chosen sides (and chosen enemies).  There is too much of people "taking a stand" and not enough of people "choosing to understand".  You can see that there is very little PEACE in the air these days and it's something I personally feel could be a big part of the solution.  

I love what Jen Hatmaker posted this last week in the midst of some troubling news stories that were haunting:  

"What a weary world. This scrap of earth needs so much hope and love. It is in a hope and love deficit, spending in the red, grief upon grief, loss upon loss. Broken hearts beget broken lives, and we find ourselves at another funeral, another trial, another national tragedy.
I so deeply believe that we have our finger on the thermostat. We can turn it all up: the compassion, the mercy, the practice of presence (so important because people are so lonely), the kindness. We can change the temperature. Jesus already told us this. He told us how to warm up this tired, cold world and He showed us how:
Love God. Love people. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are the merciful. The Good Samaritan-go and do likewise. Touch the outcasts and care for the hurting. Find the most broken, busted up folks, the lonely, sad, suffering ones, the ones everyone hates or bullies and love them like it is a paying job.
And the thermostat slowly inches up. It is all we can do. We can warm up the air around us. You handle your little corner and I'll work on mine.
This is our work and it isn't small. Fingers on the thermostat. Inch it up with all the compassion and empathy and grace we can muster. It matters." - J. Hatmaker

Like she says, "WE can turn up the compassion, the mercy..."  WE can make changes around us that will affect others in turn.  If WE can find some peace within ourselves, maybe it will flow out to others around us.  We can't just sit back and complain about what is happening around us.  We have to DO something.  Starting with our own selves, our own souls. 

One blog post isn't enough about this.  Finding peace can't be conquered and solved in just a few words, but I am on a quest.  It is one of my goals for 2017.  I want to be more peaceful and I hope to spread more peace to those around me.  There have been moments in my life where I have experienced the peace that GOD promises, and it is a truly beautiful place to be.  The peace that passes all understanding.  The peace that comes when it is least likely to make sense.  The peace that can ONLY come from a supernatural place.  

Do you know that peace?  Have you ever experienced it?   I'd love to hear your thoughts....

Blessings, Love and Peace,


  1. Thanks Gary! Love you back my friend!

  2. Finally getting around to your post, always thought provoking. Though not daily (as I should) I try to keep up with My Utmost for His Highest. I assume you have a copy in your library, thought you might enjoy the December 14th entry, which speaks to the context of your post. I wrote down a paraphrased excerpt that's been on my work computer stand since this past December 14th: God's measure of approval is immeasurable, deep peace. Thanks again for your faithfulness in posting to bless us... oh, and congrats again on the Reba cut!!!

    1. Hi Angelo! Yes, I have My Utmost for His Highest, but haven't cracked it open lately... I SHOULD! Thanks for the reminder. And thank you for the congratulations on the Reba cut. By the way, you and I still have a coffee to schedule. :-) Take care and thanks for reading!