by David Sisler
A man walked into a music store to buy a heavy brass mute for his violin. When he was told the price, he said he could not afford to pay that much. A few days later he returned and started counting out the money.
"I thought you couldn't afford it," the clerk said.
"I can't," the violin player replied, "but the neighbors all chipped in. They said it was worth the price to have some peace and quiet."
Well, that is one way to have peace!
Many of us think that peace hinges on the ability to cope with whatever life now holds. Others think peace is a diversion from whatever is bothering us. Still others think peace is just barely hanging on.
Rita had spent the weekend home from college visiting her family and her fiance. Early Sunday afternoon she started back to school. When she was less than an hour from her destination she noticed a car behind her with flashing lights and a man apparently trying to contact her by citizens band radio.
He gave her hand signals to pull over, but she continued down the road. He pulled up beside her and signaled again. Finally, reluctantly, she pulled over.
The man said he was an off-duty policeman and asked to see her driver's license.
"You were driving a little fast," he said, even though Rita knew she was driving just under the speed limit.
The man pulled a .32-caliber revolver and ordered her into his car. He drove her to a secluded spot where he raped her. All the time Rita was praying, "Lord, I am ready to go. I would love to see heaven. But you know I am engaged and I would like to get married and have a family of my own."
Rita later said, "I fully expected to die."
Suddenly there was a tingling at the back of her head. Rita assumed he had hit her with a rock. She reached up, felt blood, slumped over as if she were dead, and the man walked off.
Moments later the man came back. What Rita had believed to be a blow from a rock was really two shots from the man's pistol. When the man returned, he shot her in the side of her head, dragged her into the lake and only then, drove away.
She lay as still as possible for 30 minutes, and then summoned the strength to get to her feet. With her head pounding, her left eye severely swollen, she staggered into a fisherman's campsite. The fisherman took her to a hospital.
After taking two sets of X-rays, doctors found that the bullets had mushroomed just under the skin. Not one of the three slugs had penetrated her skull.
Rita said, "I knew that whatever happened, God was with me. I fully expected to die, but I had complete peace."
Jesus was about to go to the Garden of Gethsemane and face perhaps the most severe attack from Satan He had ever endured. He was about to be tempted to run from the cross and to leave every human being on this planet without hope. "But," He told His disciples, "when Satan comes, he will find nothing in me."
Then based on that confidence, an unshakable confidence in His Heavenly Father, Jesus said, "Peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you, but my peace I give you."
What was it He was giving them? The peace that comes from possessions? Jesus plainly said, "I do not even have a pillow of my own. I have no place to lay my head." Was it the peace that comes from acceptance? A lynch mob was being formed at that very moment, seeking to take His life.
No, Jesus was offering them, and us, an inside peace. A peace that is never dependent upon our circumstances, but is always dependent upon His power and His grace and His love.
"My peace, I give you," Jesus said. If you do not know Jesus, then you do not know peace.
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 4/16/94
Copyright 1994 by David Sisler
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