I didn’t expect war to be this noisy. When one thinks of what to expect when he goes to war, noise isn’t one of the questions you ponder. But, you don’t have to be off the airplane two minutes and you notice the war is not quiet. Later, when you finally get a chance to rest you might find there a number of folks who have left the quiet out of “quiet nights rest.” The 1/125 has some Olympic class snorers. If they gave gold medals for snoring some of these guys would be proudly wearing theirs. Thank God for headphones and earplugs.
Some of the noise reminds you that “we ain’t in Kansas no more”. This Sunday as the fifty caliber weapons were being test fired while we were singing “Just as I am” at worship…, well you just don’t here that at Peace Lutheran Church in New London, Minnesota. The helicopters coming and going, in some places the mortar rounds exploding, the generators humming 24/7, all create a backdrop of volume.
All this noise reminds me of home. The Bjertness household has never been known for the quiet it provides. Four children, three of which are teen-agers, have prompted me on numerous occasions to say to my wife, “I understand why we had kids, but tell me again why we taught them to speak.” I spent twelve months trying to get them to say “daddy” and then seventeen years trying to get them to quiet down. We have had over the years numerous dinner guests say, “Is it always like this?” And the answer is, “Yes”.
All this has led me to a conclusion. If it is quiet you’re looking for, you better bring it with you. The Apostle Paul said, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Those are strong words coming from a man who did not have a peaceful (quiet) life. Perhaps, Paul had a secret. I think he did. Paul had discovered that when Christ is in control of our lives there is an internal quietness that over rides and over rules external noise. The gift of God is a quiet and peaceful mind, even in the midst of war.
And wars are not only fought by armies. Each day, in the hearts and minds of people everywhere, there are private battles being won and lost. Battles for meaning, purpose, freedom from addiction, identity, and liberty are fought on private battlefields. You know this is true…you have fought some of these battles yourself. Families wage battles against the external enemies of cancer, jobs lost, unhappiness, depression, financial woes and separation and divorce. Let me tell you a secret. God has a gift for you. It is the gift of quiet that comes when you know your soul is safe in Jesus. It is the gift of quiet that comes when you know you have a friend who is always with you. It is a gift that calms the storm with in and quiets the soul at war. Christ comes to you in the volume of life with a timeless message, Peace (quiet) be with you. Now may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and forever more.