What does peace look like? Is it the view of a tranquil ocean? A beautiful, placid lake? Or is it sitting on a park bench alone, watching passersby as life goes by?
Whatever peace looks like, it is beautiful. It is a gift. Like the magic beans Jack was given in the fairy tale, “Jack and the Bean Stalk”, the gift of peace, once planted, can grow into trees that support your life.
What is peace? I think the Hebrew word “shalom” best characterizes what peace is. Peace is completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfection, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. This is peace. It is the place where body, mind and spirit are working in harmony to sustain the one person. It is a beautiful, nurtured garden with vine-like plants growing out of our spirit and sprouting like bean stalks. This peace is supernatural and will protect our very bodies and minds.
Protect us from what?
It is now scientifically documented that sustained stress or fear is damaging to the heart. February is recognized as American Heart Disease awareness month. Despite our progress as human beings, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women. I interviewed Dr. Kara Davis, a medically trained physician and author of Spiritual Secrets of the Heart, to uncover the secrets of the heart that still baffle the medical profession. Listen to this interview and learn why it is important to cultivate a quiet and a peaceful heart — and I am not just referring to our figurative heart.
Throughout this issue, you will see this intertwining theme of the inseparability of body, mind and spirit in the attainment of peace. In the article, “Finding Balance and Health through Harmonious Eating”, Judy Mays shares how the food we eat affects not just our bodies but also our minds and spirits. Such food can help to bring balance and harmony, or the contrary.
Believers who have recovered from food, drug, alcohol or pornography addiction know that the body can still crave for what it can no longer have. For these individuals, attaining peace from the addiction will take some working out with “fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), but it is definitely achievable. This thought is conveyed in the featured article by our guest columnist Dr. David Allen, a Christian psychotherapist. He is one of the leading researchers in the area of addiction.
There are so many other good articles and a wonderful inspirational story and poem. So I encourage you to read and then reread and then reread. This is called spaced repetition. We seldom retain information for the long term by seeing or learning it all one time. We need to space out and repeat the information over a period of time.
Yes, there is some home-work to be done after your Sabbath or Sunday service; and some meditation exercises, which the body and the mind do not welcome initially.
Remember, cultivate peace and it will grow like a bean stalk.