Alan Bancroft on The Peace of Christ

Today’s post is part of an ongoing guest blogger series on The Peace of Christ. This morning’s reflection is by Alan Bancroft:

Take it away, God.  Give me peace.  Take it away, God.  Give me peace.

Just over a week ago, on a Sunday evening, my girlfriend of a year (whom I love deeply), and I sat down together to talk about the various reasons why she didn’t want to be with me anymore…how she needed a break…how she wasn’t sure she could be married to a pastor…how she doesn’t really know who she is and what she wants.  As tears slid down both of our cheeks, I told her that I just couldn’t handle walking her through that valley, and that if she ever changed her mind, and came to a hillside or mountaintop she should call me, but otherwise, I would rather not see her, talk to her, receive text messages, or communicate in any way.

As I drove home that night, a pit in my stomach, I felt a cloud of sorrow envelop me.  I drove knowing that I would think of this girl as I went to sleep that night and that she would be the first thought on my mind the next morning, because that’s how it had been for me for the past year.  I drove knowing that the way I would spend my time in the coming days, weeks, and months would look drastically different than the previous year.  I drove knowing that I was entering my own valley and wondered aloud where God would be in this cloud of sorrow.

The next day was a cloudy, drizzly day in Franklin, TN, and following a full day of work, I decided to go for a 6-mile run.  As I was coming up on the fourth mile, I began to recite the following mantra:

Take it away, God.  Give me peace.  Take it away, God.  Give me peace.

Then, I added another line:

Take hers away, God.  Give her peace.  Take hers away, God.  Give her peace.

As I called out to God to take away the pain of unrequited love, and uncertainty, and rejection, and confusion, and all the other emotions that were rumbling around in my heart, the warm drizzly day slowly turned into a warm rainy day.  As I continued to recite that mantra, the rain intensified, and before long, I was completely soaked.  At some point, the combination of reciting that mantra, the purifying, soaking rain, and the rhythm of placing one foot in front of the other, brought me a feeling of peace that I truly believe was the work of God.  For those two remaining miles, my heart felt peaceful and void of the turmoil that had resided there since the previous evening.

The turmoil ebbs and flows as I face the day-to-day things that remind me of that girl whom I so love and miss, but when I take a few moments to recite that mantra of Take it away God. Give me peace, I am reminded of that inundating, purifying, restorative rain.  For me, in this time and place, the peace of Christ represents feeling briefly restored and sustained as I wander through a valley of hurt, confusion, and frustration.  For me, the peace of Christ is that which I hope will heal my wounds and bring me safely through the valley, back to rolling hills, and eventually back to the mountaintop.

Alan Bancroft is the associate pastor for youth at Harpeth Presbyterian Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, a veteran youth conference keynoter, musician and Truman State band geek. He blogs at Renderings, http://bancroftsblog.blogspot.com/.

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