Another guest blog in response to our peacemaking challenge – by writer Sarah Hobday – a light-hearted reflection on an unexpected answer to prayer.
This gifted, all-action hero may not be what I expected when I prayed peace over troubled waters. Surely God would send fluffy kittens and pretty flowers to divert attention away from the turbulent undercurrent, not commission a daring soldier willing to do battle, who would wade in carrying the scars of past conflicts.
But peacemakers are do-ers, they get their hands dirty as they create peace out of the chaos. They get involved and intervene; they act to rectify and redeem; to save and salve. Peacemakers stay and subdue. They are present to bring God’s presence to the situation and he’s the ultimate peacemaker.
Reflecting on Psalm 23 at Home group last night, we focussed for a while on how sheep can be driven crazy by nose flies! These afflicted, demented sheep revert to banging their heads against a rock in an effort to rid themselves of the torture of insects crawling up their nostrils. But the watchful shepherd is alert. He rubs olive oil over the sheep’s face, which calms the animal and gets rid of the flies. Immediately the sheep can return to grazing contentedly. Peace is restored. Psalm 23:5 tells us that God anoints our heads with oil – in the presence of our enemies. What a thought. When we’re banging our heads with frustration, tortured by injustice, distracted by the million little things God steps in and brings peace. That’s what I call intervention.
And intervention can be a calling. My daughter took part in an expedition recently. After 2 days of rain, heavy back-packs, lack of chocolate and little sleep, a long diversion finally proved too much and brought the group to crisis point. Bad feeling and bad tempers suddenly erupted into something tangible and disturbing. It was then, as everyone else stepped back that my daughter stepped in and, getting between the girls, she faced the aggressor. She knew she had to act fast. If the girls fought, it would take more than one person to deal with the situation and the fall-out would affect everyone, but if she stepped in with boldness before that happened she believed God would help her reason with the girls and calm them down. She longed for the friendships to be restored and so acted to bring peace. I asked: “Weren’t you afraid you’d be hit?” She admitted she was but reassured me by saying that knew she could cope with that better than the girl she shielded.
Wow! I had never thought of my teenage daughter as a bomb-disposal expert before but she had certainly defused that situation. Like a crack Commando, she was ready for action with physical courage and spiritual strength. Little did I realise when I prayed that God would gel the group during the expedition, he would mobilise my own daughter as the peacemaker. Go, Muscles!
Sarah Hobday lives in Norfolk, tries to keep the chickens out and the kettle on. Writing post-it notes and shopping lists for fun, now attempting a Christian chick novel! Heading up Norfolk Christian Writers