Rudyard Kipling in If, which I believe is the best poem ever written begins, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” setting the stage for a recitation for the human qualities needed to rise above circumstances. These are the types of mature actions and reactions visible when the shifting tides of daily life don’t toss us about like a piece of driftwood in the surf. Maturity provides stability and confidence not shaken by the ebb and flow of change marking the boundaries of life.
Reading these traits often exposes the arrested development of those of us who may have grown up but have failed to mature.
This poem illuminates human wisdom as brilliantly as a bright light on a dark night reveals all within its circle of radiance. It’s a work of brilliance by a man who was more than a journeyman wordsmith, a true master of the English language. And like other works of genius it exposes timeless truth that can change the life of anyone who assimilates its message and lives out its guidance. Other works such as How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, or The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell are examples of this wisdom that can help us mature into successful people in a world filled with more obstacles than opportunities.
However, while wisdom, if it’s accepted and acted upon can help us succeed and prosper it cannot by itself bring us to the peace which passes all understanding. Happiness is the world’s substitute for joy causing immature people to waste their lives tickling themselves to death for a smile. In the same way the tranquility flowing from success and prosperity is the world’s substitute for peace. True peace can only come from God for humanity needs peace with God to have peace within themselves.
You see when humanity decided to follow Satan instead of God, we immediately found an unbridgeable gulf between us and God. This left a God-shaped hole in our hearts and nothing can fill it except the God who created us. On our own, we can’t think our way to God. We can’t follow enough rules, laws, or pious regulations to reach God. Someone had to pay the price for all the sin from Adam to eternity and no one could do it except an eternal being.
We were guilty and in need of a mediator, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” In the court of heaven, we needed an attorney to represent us before the throne of justice, “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” You see He has paid the price and is ever ready to show the proof of His sacrifice since, “He solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.”
Jesus pointed the way to peace with God. Telling us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Salvation is easy for, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Having done that it flows from the reborn spirit with in us that we will follow Him, doing the works that He did as He leads us into all peace. And in His living word He gives the formula for peace, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
There is an ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” In America today we find ourselves in the most interesting of times. So as the endless election winds down to its inevitable conclusion, whether we face the resistance, riots, and impeachment that will greet a Trump victory or the shabby world of Progressive authoritarianism devolving from a Biden win, don’t let it steal your peace.
As He prepared to pay the ultimate price to ransom our lives Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And no matter how confusing, challenging, or frustrating it may become remember Jesus also said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Let us bear up under these interesting times knowing that our faith in Christ makes us not just followers of God but children of God, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Don’t be discouraged, instead hang on to your faith. Don’t forget that the blinding lights and roaring furry of this crisis is but a blink of the eye for, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” And, “we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”
Keep the faith. Keep the peace. We shall overcome.