God's word in today's world

Swimming in peace and mercy


Many times we read the Bible so quickly that we don’t really see all that is there. Often we just want to get to the end, and in the process we miss a lot. Take the third last verse of the whole Galatians letter: 16Peace and mercy on them!

Paul speaks a blessing over the people of Galatia. A blessing that he speaks over the people who believes in Jesus Christ and that Christ, through his death on the cross, had paid for our sins and that that is enough. Therefore, Paul is speaking this blessing over all of us who believe in Jesus.

What is a blessing? According to the dictionary, a blessing is: A prayer asking for divine favour and protection. Paul prays to God and asks God to keep his hand of protection over us. That God will protect us against danger, but even more than that – that we will receive peace and mercy.

Yes, we need both of these very much. In our rushed life where we do not make time to get together, peace quickly flies out of the window. We are under pressure to cross the next hurdle. We are under pressure to perform. We are under pressure to keep up with the life that we have carved out for ourselves, and then, amidst all that rushing around, we struggle to come to a standstill, sit quietly and find peace.

Real peace comes from God. Remember: Jesus finished that war that had existed between us and God. Jesus won that war for us by dying on the cross. Jesus made peace between us and God. The rushing to escape from death is gone. We don’t have to be afraid anymore. There is peace.

The question is whether we experience peace or are we rushing around so much that the peace is always missing. That is why Paul is praying that God will protect us and give us peace.

But mercy as well. May God give us loads and loads of mercy. We need it so much! We cannot pay for what we have done wrong. A thousand good deeds cannot delete even one white lie. No, we can only pay in mercy. God’s grace only helps us to get through life. Yes, we need loads and loads of that.

And then I wonder why peace and mercy are sometimes missing from my life. Is it because people don’t pray this for me anymore? Has God’s mercy and peace run out? Is everything intended for other people and have I missed out again?

No, I don’t think the problem is on God’s side. God loves us far too much to simply write us off – whatever we do. I strongly suspect the problem is on our side. We’ve stopped asking God to pour out his peace and mercy over us. Sometimes we simply do not see the peace and mercy and sometimes our lives are such that we simply do not allow God to infuse our lives with his peace and mercy.

God has many, many storerooms filled with peace and mercy that He wants to open to us. He wants us to swim in it. Maybe it’s a good idea for us to take God’s peace and mercy seriously again. We must ask Him. We must pray this blessing over each other, put our hands out and make space for God’s grace and peace to flow over us.

Therefore, Lord, I pray: Father, please let your mercy and peace flow over every reader right now.

Galatians 6:11-18

Reflection

Do you experience God’s peace and blessing?

Are you receptive?

Over whom can you pray God’s blessing?

 

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your peace and mercy. I would like to pray the blessing of peace and mercy over my family, friends, colleagues, employees and all the strangers I meet. May everybody around me experience Your mercy and peace. Amen

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