Recently, I’ve enjoyed reading a biography of our eighteenth president, Ulysses S. Grant. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant, by Ronald C. White, tells the story of a leader who sought to help a nation heal after years of turmoil and division.
He concluded his acceptance letter for the presidency with four words: “Let Us Have Peace.” “Let us have peace” captured the imagination of a nation. This four-word declaration resonated with a people tired of four years of war and three years of divisive Reconstruction politics.
At times, it is a struggle to find peace. Peace of mind. Peace of heart.
Yet it is a worthwhile struggle, and a way in which God churns in us and reminds us of the abundant love and grace offered by God again and again.
As we ponder what peace is and how we seek it, please receive the following words for the journey:
“God.” I whispered. “What if peace isn’t possible? Then what?”
God was quiet for a minute. Then God wrapped me up in God’s arms and told me a story. God said, “In the beginning, I knit you together. I wove strands of peace into your heart so that you might know and grow love; and your heart was beautiful, wild, and free.
That was a long time ago, but peace is part of who you are. It just gets stuck under fear, doubt, and hurt—like a bird with stones on its wings.”
“I don’t understand,” I fussed. “If peace is part of who we are, then why are we humans so bad at it?”
God held me a little tighter and said, “Little bird, remember how loved you are, and start small. Remove the stones of anger, hurt, and fear one at a time and peace will surely grow.”
Then God lifted up my arms and set me out to fly, and I realized that, grounded in God’s love, I was beautiful and wild and free, and peace was a part of me.
So, I flew home, and stayed up all night writing love letters and tearing down walls so that the peace in me could fly to the peace in you.
Let me know when you get it.
(Prayer by Sarah Are)
As we consider the place of the Prince of Peace in our lives, may we be about the work of removing the stones of anger, hurt, and fear.
Let Us Have Peace.
God’s Grace and Peace,