by David Sisler

Wanda was 50 years old. She flew to the home of her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren and gave herself a birthday party. Then because a neighbor was ill and she was concerned about her, she hurried home.

On a long airplane flight, most people will speak politely to their seat-mates. Wanda was no exception. As she talked about her birthday party, she said, "This was a very special trip for me because the doctors say I have less than 90 days to live."

Then she explained that she had had cancer for ten years and had been operated on nine times. The doctors wanted to perform a tenth surgery, but she said, "Nine is quite enough."

Wanda had been employed throughout her ten year battle with cancer. She began by volunteering at a nursing home. After a while, the administration at the home began to pay her. Just two months before her birthday party, state inspectors said no one could do that job unless they had four years of college. Wanda had dropped out of high school after the first year.

It did not matter that she had been performing the job above standard for almost ten years. She did not meet the standard job qualifications, so she was fired.

"That's all right," she said, "they were ten great years. I made many friends. It was a happy time. And, besides, if you know the rules, you must follow them. So they were correct to let me go."

"Your son must have married young for you to have grand children already," her traveling companion remarked.

"Actually, he's 34," Wanda said. "I got married when I was 15. Both of my foster parents died within 24 hours of each other and it was the only way to avoid going to another home."

Just before the flight ended, Wanda said, "My husband left before our son was two. I've had a hard life, but it has been a very, very good life."

"How do you feel about dying?" her friend asked.

"I love living," Wanda said. "Life has been beautiful. But I am not afraid, because as a very small child, I found peace."

In the 3500 years of recorded human history, there has been peace less than 10 percent of the time. So it is unusual to find someone who can claim with such honesty, "I have had a beautiful life. It is because I have inner peace."

Do you know it is just as natural for us to be at war with God as it is for human beings to be at war with each other?

The Bible says, "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end of the way is the way of death."

The Bible says, "The heart--yours and mine--is deceitful above all things, more deceitful than anything else on the face of the earth, and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?"

Is it any wonder that we are constantly at war with God? Is it any wonder that our plans run so contrary to His that we are in constant conflict with our Heavenly Father?

We all long for peace. We frequently quote the Bible verse which says, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Would it surprise you to learn, Jesus said He did not come to bring peace?

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth," Jesus said. "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother. A man's enemies will be the members of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me."

Jesus was not talking about military peace. He was not talking about global conflict. He was talking about the only kind of peace that is unaffected by the world situation--deep, inside, personal peace. The kind of peace that causes family members who do not know Jesus to turn against us. The kind of peace that says, "No matter how much I love my family, I love my Jesus more."

That is the kind of love He said we should have. If we love Him in that fashion, that is the peace He will provide.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 6/3/95

Copyright 1995 by David Sisler

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