Posted November 5, 2008
A woman asked her friend how she could stay so calm in the midst of heavy pressures in her nerve-racking job. The answer was as simple as it was profound: ”I’m too blessed to be stressed.”
The Age of Anxiety. That’s the label often attached to the turbulent, war-ravaged, terrorist-threatened time in which we live and try to survive. The experience of a deep inner peace is a rarity in our age. Even when peace of mind is attained, still peace of soul is fleeting-the supernatural peace that Jesus promised (Jn 14:27): “My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” This is what Paul refers to: “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
The ever-deepening turmoil provides a gargantuan challenge for us in seeking to cultivate an exquisitely refined faith in our Creator. This requires us to recognize that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega-“the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2). When our faith has become a truly finished or perfected faith, it becomes an imperturbable trusting conviction that God alone will have the last word on the entire world and world events. That will not occur “until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago,” as Peter proclaimed in a sermon (Acts 3:21). Until that “Day of the Lord,” we must at least try to make sense out of the chaos that shatters our ailing world.
Bertrand Russell, in a humanistic revision of the scriptural pericope “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” said, “To consider fear is the beginning of wisdom.” If his revision was correct, however, he didn’t say how to conquer fear. His commentators felt compelled to complete this unanswered inquiry by conjecturing that to conquer fear and attain its opposite—inner tranquility—is a matter of exercising a kind of faith that relies on a controlling Power greater than oneself. In Christian theology that is simply referred to as trust in God.
John H. Hampsch, cmf – from Pathways of Trust