I was never good at the childhood game of ‘Tag’. You know the one: A group of kids on a playground decide to play Tag. One person is ‘It’. That person has to chase the other kids until they can tag one of them.
“Tag – now you’re it!” you shout.
Being ‘It’ when you can’t cross the athletic line is not fun. Everyone else is faster, so I chase, and chase, and chase – but tagging someone feels unattainable. I gasp for breath and keep on chasing. At some point I don’t want to play any more. I know that everyone is glad I’m ‘It’. They have a better chance of never getting tagged. Every single person playing feels just out of reach of my hand. My best scenario is that others will get as tired as me, or bore of the game, but until then – I just keep chasing.
Sometimes chasing peace is like a game of tag. I chase after it but it seems just out of reach. I chase and I chase and I chase, but I can’t quite find it. I try different strategies, different methods, I envy others who seem to have more of it.
I long for peace in a world that offers chaos.
It’s exhausting trying to chase Peace.
In high school I blithely sang the song “I’ve got Peace like a river, I’ve got Peace like a river, I’ve got Peace like a river in my soul….” And I did. We sang the song loud, with energy, gusto; all of us missionary kids, all of us sure of our salvation and our peace. We were young and didn’t have to chase Peace. We knew it well, knew that it was accompanied by no less than three guitars, loud, and innocent.
Peace was in our long walks in mountain settings. Peace was in our prayers and petitions. Peace was not elusive, it was ours for the taking.
But high school was a long time ago and my world has grown increasingly complex.
And I realize I’ve tried to chase Peace. Tried so hard and so long, like I tried to catch another during my childhood games of tag. But I think I have it all wrong. I don’t think Peace can be chased.
I think Peace is more like chasing a butterfly – as long as I frantically chase it, it will be just out of reach, but the minute I stop, give up the chase and relax, it comes and sits on my shoulder.
And I realize that Peace comes through rest.
Peace comes through obedience.
Peace comes through trust.
Peace comes through service.
Peace comes through gratitude.
It’s there for the asking, but it can’t be chased. As I release my right to Peace, as I learn how to rest in where I am today, Peace comes.