We will return to your regularly scheduled Fruit of the Spirit blogging series next month. But this still “in processing” blog on peace had to be written now.

I’ve been taking this year to dive into the Fruit of the Spirit on this blog, as experienced through my sexuality. This new journey has already yielded fascinating results, all of which can never be fully conveyed through my blogs.

One thing I didn’t anticipate enough, though, was how this spiritual journey would impact my life beyond my sexuality. My life on the whole.

Yes, I knew the Fruit of the Spirit were not exclusive to my sexuality. But I thought, perhaps, I could just learn about them via this part of my life.

Instead, God has been revealing the Fruit of the Spirit in my whole self before relating it to my queerness. I’d have rather not done it this way; the month of March is why.

As I currently write this blog in March of 2020, this month has been all about peace. Some of you are already chuckling, and I’d ask you to kindly hush.

The month is not even halfway over, and I’ve been experiencing almost everything opposite of peace.

The first week of the month I was at a work conference. While there, I realized I was experiencing burnout in this particular field.

Editing written resources is something I enjoy — but doing it for twenty hours a week has driven me into the ground. Add to the fact that this material is a highly sensitive subject concerning church outreach, and you have a burned out Dean.

I found myself constantly irritated by various church leaders at this conference. Every question they asked, every statement they made, every expression on their faces at our teaching expanded the echoing ache in my soul.

I wanted to slap each church person there and “shake the dust off my feet,” so to speak, as I left the conference. But I stuck through it.

Upon returning home, my daughter started her school’s spring break. She decided this would be the best time to perform her daily impression of a sin-filled, rebellious child. She is doing a killer job, driving me and my wife to our wits’ end.

As that particular week progressed, COVID-19 began taking the world by storm, causing shutdowns and cancelations worldwide. This began affecting countless people, putting their livelihoods in jeopardy.

And then, yesterday hit.

I was emailing my supervisor about my next steps. I needed to know which project to edit next. His response was not ideal: there would be no more work for me, starting immediately.

This job currently supplies more than a third of my family’s income — or, rather, make that supplied.
Now, I do have another job I will be moving into soon. But that’s still three months from now.

Even that organization is struggling financially at the moment. So, I’m basically moving from one group in need of financial relief to another in need of financial relief.

And what was that fruit I was supposed to be learning about right now?

Oh, yeah. Peace. The opposite of how I’m currently feeling.

I’m not going to give up, though. Somehow, peace is possible — even right now.

I don’t feel like having peace. Peace won’t give my family income. Peace won’t solve the financial burdens of two massive ministries. Peace won’t cure the coronavirus or bring back canceled jobs or put food on the table or anything.

Peace won’t do anything I want it to do right now. So, what good is it? Why do I need peace when a whole bunch of other, more pressing needs are still waiting to be filled and answered?

What good is Your peace right now, God? Because that’s not what I need.

Maybe . . . just maybe . . . that’s what I need to learn.

Are you struggling with peace during this coronavirus crisis? When have you struggled with — or attained — God’s peace in the past, and how can you embrace it, if even in some small way daily?

  • I think I’m feeling about the same as everyone else right now: like Pope Julius looking up at the half-painted image of God on the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel, interrogating its artifex, “When will you make an end?!” And hearing nothing but the quiet, cool reply: “When I am finished…”
    Okay that was snobbish, but I haven’t been able to quote a Rex Harrison movie in, like, forever. Moving rapidly onward, I admit I didn’t really feel this whole COVID thing until about a month ago when I got hurt. I’ve got about six more weeks of medical leave to go, and it’s driving me nuts. I don’t know what to do with myself all day, and while I’m not freaking out over money right now, my already meager emergency-fund is going to take years to recover from this.
    But it seems like at every turn I’m running into little things that tell me, in a quiet, cool voice: “You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.” That in itself doesn’t bring me much comfort–Stephen knew as much as he was being dragged outside Jerusalen to be stoned–but if that’s the case, then there really isn’t anything I should, or perhaps even could, do about it. I’ve done all I can, and now all I can do is breathe.

    • I’ll never turn my nose up at a Rex Harrison quote. ūüėČ
      Thank you for sharing, Michael. I pray you continue to stay strong where you are as you wait for what God has still ahead.

  • Generally speaking, if we are looking for nice, quiet, smoothly flowing life, Christianity may not be the place to find it. Peace, in the Christian sense, is never quiet. It’s about being at peace with God. How do you get there? By getting into to still deeper relationship with Him. That means we develop a day by day life. Consider where you are at right now and consider the worst days you have had in your life. Did you make it through those days? Apparently. You are still writing, still living, still enduring trials. And you still love Jesus and you are still willing to step out in faith.
    So..while your life may be fraught by turmoil, you have also learned contentment with what is “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (that) will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (something like Phil 4:7). Paul knew about peace and contentment. His life was always in some kind of upheaval.
    II Corinthians 11:23-30
    23 “Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one‚ÄĒI am talking like a madman‚ÄĒwith far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food,[b] in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
    This same man said this in Philippians 4:11b-13, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
    The Christian definition of Peace needs some adjustment I think. Loving God has it’s moments. True peace comes from enduring them.
    If we want a human peace..maybe we should become Buddhists.

    • I see what you mean, Sergei, and I appreciate that. However, to skip over the longing for peace in life is to ignore human suffering. Jesus did not do that. He saw the suffering, He met people there, and He provided a physical provision for them. He didn’t tell sick people to “be at peace cause you’ll be in heaven one day.” He forgave sins AND healed people. If eternal peace were all that mattered, then raising Lazarus from the dead was cruel, making the blind see what pointless, and feeding the five thousand was a waste of a miracle.
      I don’t want to claim that my life can have no suffering to truly be at peace. However, I can claim that life is hard and makes peace impossible on my own unless Christ intervenes, both with contentment and with actual provision.

      • A bumper sticker said “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus. Know peace”. I did not say that Jesus ignores human suffering. He came to earth with the cure for that and sometimes the cure involves learning to endure suffering for his sake and our spiritual growth. He said we should take up our cross. It’s not exactly a peaceful thought unless our faith allows it to be. In His day, people that took up crosses were going to their death.
        My point is that He made it possible for us to have peace with God because He pulled sin out of the equation. People no longer go to hell for sin. The only thing you can go to hell for is failing to believe. Belief becomes faith through suffering and also the peace that comes because our hope. The Spirit works in us to make this happen.
        Oh and Lazarus…if you read the Gospel of John it becomes apparent that Jesus was well aware that his friend Lazarus was sick and at death’s door, but purposely delayed going to him until he was dead. He waited for His friend’s death so that He might provide hope and peace to everyone involved. It worked. It’s possible to have peace in the midst of life’s turmoil. Having a tough time does not keep us from knowing His peace and getting the bigger picture. We just have to be willing to accept that what happens will ultimately work to our good and His glory. Even if Lazarus did have to die twice…

  • Ugh sorry you’re in the middle of all this, Dean. I do agree that Peace [the fruit of the spirit] is different from peace the life circumstance. I think sometimes even just putting one foot in front of the other in spite of all the turmoil inside of us and outside of us is to bear the fruit of Peace.

    • Thank you, Ryan, I appreciate that. I like the perspective of keeping on forward as a sign of peace. There’s more there to unpack I believe. Thank you for that.

  • Dean

    I write under this pseudonym account and do my best to pursue Jesus Christ every day. I fail often, yet I get back up each time. I am married to an incredible woman I call Lisa ‚Äď she is far better than I deserve. My daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life. And in my spare time, I watch my favorite TV shows and movies, play RPG video games, and hang out with my friends. Yes, I am a nerd and I am proud of it.

    See All Posts
    >