On Sunday, Pastor Robby preached about peace. One quote of his in particular got my wheels spinning. “Peace is not the absence of chaos but the presence of purpose.”

The presence of purpose.

In pastoral ministry we talk a lot about being a “non-anxious” presence. Pastors are often called into anxious situations. Emergency rooms. Surgery waiting rooms. Financial hardships. Family emergencies. Domestic issues. Homelessness. We find ourselves around anxiousness a lot. One of our jobs, in those situations, is to be a presence in the room that doesn’t add to the angst. A presence that offers comfort, nearness, and understanding.

A presence of purpose doesn’t mean we necessarily know exactly why we’re in a certain situation, but we know we have a God-given, God-driven purpose for being there. I’m not just talking about pastors, now. I’m talking about all of us. Sometimes we may have an acute recognition of the reason we are where we are, doing what we’re doing, called to the moment. Other times, the world is on fire all around us and we have no idea why we’re there or what we’re supposed to do.

A presence of purpose doesn’t mean we necessarily know exactly why we’re in a certain situation, but we know we have a God-given, God-driven purpose for being there.

But God’s purpose is steadfast. And it always involves peace.

Peace is a fruit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When we are allowing God to fill us and use us for His intention, peace will always be a part of the equation. And it will take different shapes.

Peaceful presence – Psalm 112 says, “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Perhaps you are called into your current situation with the purpose of peaceful presence. You will be a beacon of trust. An agent of steadfast endurance. While your friends or family are in a time of struggle, you will not fear, for the Lord is with you. Your peaceful presence will be such an important part of the story!

Peacemaking – Matthew 5 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Peacemaking does not assume the absence of conflict, but the ability to seek unity and purpose in the midst of conflict. Sometimes, if we’re being real, peacemaking means upsetting the current situation in order to bring overall health. Sometimes we try to be peacekeepers, which has its place. But when it becomes suppressing the truth in order to avoid rocking the boat, no one wins. After all, conflict delayed is conflict amplified.

Peacemaking also calls for action. For those whose lives are full of unrest, chaos, hopelessness, the peacemakers step in. They bring with them aid, justice, and good news. Peacemaking is courageous and purposeful.

Friends, may you be led in discerning purpose in your journey with peace this Advent season. If you’re called to be the peaceful, non-anxious presence in the midst of the chaos with family, friends, or co-workers, may it be so. If you’re called to active peacemaking, stepping in to do hard things like have a necessary conversation or actively seek solutions for struggling neighbors, may it be so.

And if you’re the one desperately in need of a peaceful presence or a peacemaker this season, may the Lord lead the right person headlong into your story. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

May the peace of Christ not only fill us, but be living and active in us as we seek the face of the Prince of Peace.

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