Gifts of Peace

Posted on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:40am by Merritt Wilson

I've never been particularly outdoorsy, but lately I've found myself strolling all over the wild metropolis that is Beijing.  But these are not ordinary strolls, as I've acquired a very special walking partner: Divine Love.

Our walks aren't just casual dalliances designed to pass the time between appointments on a busy day. They're thoughtful, introspective, incredibly meaningful conversations during which He does most of the talking and I listen as hard as I can.

As a Sunday school student, I loved the idea of finding refuge in a closet or other private space, being absolutely quiet and listening for the "still, small voice" (1 Kings 19:12). In our busy, chaotic world, it can be difficult to quiet the cacophony of our thoughts at all, let alone sit still long enough to focus on and absorb God's angel messages to us.

Beijing is certainly not the ideal place to look for an island of peace and solitude. The crowded marketplaces, noisy construction sites and unending traffic jams seem to place enormous obstacles in the path of this simple request. It was only very recently that I began conducting a prayerful experiment -- to see if I could, actually, find a moment of peace in which to listen for God's thoughts in the midst of terrific challenge.

Quite accidentally one night, I found just the type of opportunity for which I was searching. Each evening after dinner, I like to stroll down to Tuanjiehu park, a beautifully foliaged area in my neighborhood reminiscent of Central park in New York (but more beautiful). Since the fall temperatures in Beijing are still quite pleasant, there is quite a lot of activity to behold around the neighborhood after the dinner hour. My favorite discovery so far has been the drum and bugle corps that accompanies the mesmerizing fan dance of local octogenarians.

As I stood at the entrance to the park, transfixed, it suddenly occurred to me that what I was witnessing was the purest expression of God's spiritual ideas as manifested in man. His joy was expressed in the dancers, His kindness in the accompanying musicians, His grace in the families with young children who stopped and took a moment out of their busy evening schedules to appreciate this demonstration of Divine Love.

It was at that exact moment that I realized I had been hearing God's messages all along. Every moment of joy, whether my own or someone else's; every instance of gratitude; every moment of peace -- those were the purest expressions of the Christ passing from God to man. I stood in amazement as the dancers twirled in front of me, marveling at the simplicity of His message.  Love really was all around me, and I didn't require a closet to hear that great fact.

Merritt Wilson
Former SCF Board Member, Concord House Alumnus

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