In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
I asked the Lord what he meant by that on my early morning walk today.
First, he gave me a scripture; “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:20.
The Lord explained that he was the first peace maker; and when we become his sons and daughters, we become his peace makers. He reminded me what I’d done with my mother last year. We never had a good relationship. But he saw her differently from me.
Here’s my story about making peace.
Seven years passed. Healed from the hurt of the past, Joanna went from strength to strength. But she still had bad memories from her childhood.
One day her mother grew seriously ill. Joanna approached the Lord, concerned about her mother’s salvation.
“Father, it’s up to you whether she’ll pull through this time. I forgive my mother for all the abuse she heaped on us. She wasn’t able to be a good mother because she was abandoned at the age of three.
Is her name written in your book, the book of life? She believes in you – but she doesn’t know you. I want to be able to bring her to you, but I can’t reach her. I can hardly go through the four spiritual laws, or walk her down the Roman road. Lord, how can I get her to trust you? You promised that if we lack wisdom, we should ask. I’m asking.”
“I will come to her,” He replied, pointing to a painting that her mother used to have; a vintage 1900’s painting called ‘Shepherd’s call’ which depicted a collie barking for the shepherd after finding a lost lamb in the snow.
“Talk about that painting. Ask her who the dog is barking for, and then bring me in. I want her to know she is the lamb …”
“What a brilliant idea. I’d never have thought of that,” Joann replied, impressed. “But I don’t want religion getting in the way. What should I do if it does?”
The Lord gave her an answer for that.
Later Joanna sat at her mother’s side, alone.
“You know that painting of the dog and the lamb you had?” she began.
“Yes, I gave it away,” her mother replied.
“Yes, you did. Remember that lost lamb?”
“The lamb didn’t have a mother,” her mother recalled.
“Yes, that’s right Mum, she didn’t have a mother,” Joanna replied, sad.
“The Lord said for me to tell you that you are that lamb” she said, as soon as she’d gathered her composure.
Tears came to her mother’s eyes.
“Who was the dog barking for?” Joanna asked.
“The shepherd,” her mother eventually answered.
“Did you know the Lord is the Shepherd?” Joanna replied.
More tears came.
Just as Joanna had foreseen, Joanna’s mother talked about religion.
“Mum, do you know what the Bible says true religion is?” Joanna responded.
Her mother shook her head.
“True religion is to take care of widows and orphans,” Joanna replied, giving the answer the Lord had given her.
“I’m a widow,” her mother said.
“That’s right, you are a widow,” Joanna replied, impressed at the Lord’s answer.
“Who is the Lord to you?” Joanna cautiously asked, feeling like the Collie.
Her mother was silent.
“Are you afraid of death?” Joanna asked.
“Yes, I’m afraid of the devil – I don’t want to see him,” she replied.
Joanna introduced the Shepherd.
“Mum, Jesus tends his flock like a shepherd. He looks for lost lambs and he saves them. He wants to carry you in his arms, close to his heart,” she added.
“Who would you like him to be?” she asked, watching her mother’s face.
“My protector,” her mother replied.
“Like a saviour?” Joanna asked.
“Yes,” her mother agreed.
“Do you accept him as your saviour?” Joanna asked.
“Yes,” her mother replied, with childlike faith.
“You are saved,” Joanna told her, relieved to see the lamb now cradled in the Shepherd’s arms.
“Now that you have accepted Jesus as your saviour, you need fear no evil in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Lord is your Shepherd, and his rod and staff will comfort you,” Joanna reassured her, remembering her own staff.
That was as much as she could do.
Outside, a piece of rainbow shone out from clouds above the Ruahine mountain range.
That night, her mother sang.