I think the hardest thing God has ever asked of me is to live peaceably with all men. I’m working on improving my reaction to inconveniences with the help of my Creator, but there are times when it’s so hard not to completely lose my cool and get snippy when things go wrong. Sometimes He has to nudge me back onto the straight and narrow in very specific ways.
Such was the case a few years ago when preparing for a flight to visit a friend. Upon arriving at the airport, we found that our flight was delayed for two hours. As time ticked by, I had what space-rogue Han Solo of Star Wars infamy would call “a very bad feeling about this.” As the hours passed, my tension grew and peace slipped away, compounded when the plane arrived only for the attendants to call those of us with a layover to speak with them.
Not five minutes before this happened, my phone buzzed. One of my best friends sent out a Tweet encouraging her followers to do something nice for themselves or others. I was too flustered to think much of it, brushing it off for later. “Yeah, I’ll do something nice for myself, like get a cookie on the plane…”
Little did I know, that was a seed.
Over the ensuing half-hour of standing in line, being told we’d miss our connection, and plenty of back-and-forth with the attendants and then my travel companions while we decided what to do, I had a strong sense of the holy spirit moving in me and watering that seed, if you will. Finally, the decision was made: we couldn’t make the trip. Distress hit peak heights, the tension headache was starting—
And then I saw her. A harried desk attendant who been a little snappy with us was now leaving her shift. The moment I watched her walk away, I heard the voice of God: Do something nice for others. FOR HER.
I chased her down and thanked her, and her demeanor shifted at once—as did mine. We got to chatting, and it turned out she had to be up and at work again in a little over five hours; since being held back to deal with the dilemma on our flight, she barely had any time to sleep. She and I weren’t in such different straits, after all. We agreed to pray for each other, she went home for a well-deserved sleep, and my friends and I caught a cab home.
All weekend afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking about that woman, though, about what had upset her and upset me, and all the inconveniences of life: a missed flight. A traffic jam. A burned dinner. Most of the time, these are inconveniences, mere trifles in the grand scheme of life, but we let them steal our peace so often.
What if we didn’t? What if we did our best to make peace with the people creeping into our merge lane at the last possible moment? With the airport attendants who are losing sleep trying to do their job? With our significant other when they make a mistake with our hearts? What if we prayed for them instead of snarling out of earshot? What if we didn’t sweat the small stuff, but made peace and amends before we ever lost our tempers?
Jesus had so many chances to lose his cool and make a scene, but he made peace instead. Let’s follow his example, imitate his calm, and think of others before ourselves. Let’s make peace with our inconveniences and create that environment of peace around us. Let’s be agents of peace in a chaotic, stressful world.
Because, after all, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” And isn’t that what we all aspire to truly be?