A few weeks ago, I took a day to go into Washington DC to enjoy some of what our nation’s capitol has to offer. The weather was sunny yet a bit chilly. The crowds were minimum. And the day was great as I … Enjoyed the Smithsonian Museums to the National Zoo. Perused the gardens and the National Mall. Stared up the sides of the obelisk that pierces the landscape in the center of it all. And, savored a wonderful gourmet burger and chocolate beverage from the local Shake Shack. A good respite for just a day away from the norm.
To get around the wearisome I-95 traffic, I took Amtrak. I travelled on the 98 Silver Meteor line into Union station. And though they had a delay for over an hour just outside Fredericksburg, it was still better than being in my car sitting or snailing (yes a new word I just invented = driving at a snail’s pace.) While in the train riding to and fro, I sat in a booth in the dining car where I enjoyed my beverage, watched a movie on my iPad, relaxed with some reading and even wrote a few letters.
I enjoyed the atmosphere of a train as I observed the diverse personalities and characters of fellow riders – sleepers, snugglers, squirmiers, stragglers and snackers. The steward kept singing, which was just a grand way of entertaining the few of us in the dining car.
On this leg of my journey, an epiphany occurred to me. An interesting and applicable truth was revealed. I was reading and studying some about the narrative of the Angels appearing around Bethlehem some 2000 years ago (the first Christmas). The Angels declared “Peace on Earth!” But yet, it doesn’t seem like there really is much peace. Russia mounting troops near Ukraine. Iran hacking Israeli media outlets. Americans fighting over political power. And that doesn’t even breach the personal agonies of people facing health issues, elderly parents struggling, families divided, crime escalating, etc. And don’t forget recent natural (and man made) disasters like the Midwest tornadoes, the Colorado fires, or the northwest freaky snow storms to name a few. The Angels declared “Peace on Earth!” It seemed questionable.
Okay, let me connect this … on the train, I was looking out the window. America has such a diverse and beautiful landscape. I saw rivers, forests, beaches, diverse architecture, a sunrise over the Potomac, and more. But looking straight out the window, all I really saw was a blur. The view I had was of me going through the world so fast, I only was seeing streaks of madness. And to honest, it produced quite a headache.
But … and this is a huge but … when I looked a little forward, taking the vision in from a ‘where we are headed’ point of view, I saw the landscape, the sights, the diverse beauty. It was quite a change of perspective. It was calming and delightful. We were headed forward – along the path intended – and we will get there.
Life gets messy. Shoes get muddy. And if all we look at is the blur straight out the window, madness is all we will see. You may be in a hard part of your life journey right now. Things may seem crazy and harsh and hopeless. And looking out the window, all you see is a blur of circumstances overwhelming you. And you question the proclamation of peace on earth. But if we look ahead, we get a better point of view, we see things in a clearer perspective. We realize God doesn’t take us out of the storms but gets us through them. It’s not that all things are good, but that all things work together for the good (Romans 8:28). We are headed forward. There is a path He has for us. Just keep your eyes ahead (Hebrews 12:1-2). And the One who started working in your life will complete it (Philippians 1:6).
And so, when the Angels declared “Peace on Earth” we need to look a little past the craziness of Christmas then and now. We see God has a plan. And that statement, the proclamation, that promise … Peace on Earth … it’s real.
Tomorrow, I’ll share a little more on the peace of which the the Angels spoke. Till then … Stop looking at the blur … there is a much better view if you look ahead.
Romans 8:28, Hebrews 12:1-2, Colossians 1:19-20, Philippians 1:6