Are you a strong willed or stubborn person? Do you find yourself struggling to let go of your will to embrace God’s will which leads to His peace? I do.
Growing up in a German family, my parents believed in the value of hard work and instilled in my sister, brothers, and myself the trait of persistence. True, this persistence can show itself as stubbornness but this trait, which my mother would often tell us that all Germans have, can be good and bad. In today’s first reading (Acts 16:1-10) we see that Paul is persistent in seeking the will of the Spirit of Jesus. He recognizes that when his preaching is not welcomed in a specific locale that Jesus doesn’t want him there. Instead of being stubborn and insisting with his own will that these people will accept his preaching, Paul moves along until he is welcomed. At the end of the reading we see Paul recognize that God had called them to preach in Macedonia and not in the province of Asia, Mysia, or Bithynia.
Paul teaches us to accept those times we are rejected as simply God nudging us on our journey. So many times I know my stubbornness comes out and I resist those little nudges of the Lord. I think when we resist those nudges we challenge the Lord. He so often lets us go on our own way and all we find is resistance and frustration. It must bring a smile to His face when we cry out to Him as we realize our foolishness in being stubborn and going our own way. If only we would learn our lesson and lay down our own desires to simply follow Him.
In the Gospel reading (Jn 15:18-21), Jesus reinforces this lesson by telling us that we will meet with resistance, “no slave is greater than his master.” Surely, in our travels we will endure difficulty but if we only step back, look to Jesus, and let Him run the show, we will find oneness with Him and experience His peace. No doubt, we will find shalom, that peace beyond the peace of this world. We will find Divine peace.