The gift of a rock commemorated successful completion of my life purpose coaching certification. Along this path of new beginnings, my mentor and friend, Katie, had lovingly coached me with positive encouragement and high expectations. As I packed to leave the Life Purpose Coaching Centers International home base in Colorado, Katie shared a story about a special trip she had made to Africa. On the journey, she had been blessed with the Shalom rock, and was now passing it on to me.
As she handed me the rock, I received the love that was part of the package. Running the palm of my hand across the beautifully inked calligraphy on the smooth faced white stone, I touched its message of peace while feeling less than peaceful about adding its weight to my carry-on bag.
Pride in my identity as a ‘light packer’ rose up unexpectedly. I faced my less desirable self, wrestling between a self-awarded lifetime achievement of “savvy traveler” and a genuine appreciation for the thoughtful gift. How could I let an offering of peace be a burden?
While considering the extra weight, I knew my hesitation to receive the gift might feel like rejection to my friend. The importance of Katie’s kind offering of ‘Shalom’ grasped my heart and quickly won out. As counterintuitive as it seemed to add a two-pound rock to my bag, I placed it beneath my carefully rolled clothes.
Recalling many stones of remembrance I had acquired over the years, I comforted myself. The memory marker would be worth this small inconvenience. After all, markers are an important part of our story.
In the Bible, we find many scenarios where stones were set as a memorial to the Lord, commemorating His goodness for future generations.
From the beginning, in Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob marked the spot in Bethel as a reminder of the vision God gave him there. Jacob wanted to remember what God had given him. Bethel, or ‘House of God’, became an important place of worship. The lasting stone marker represented the remembrance of God’s faithfulness for all who worshipped there forever.
Little did I know, in carrying the rock home to West Virginia, Daddy God would give me a marker of experience and deeper understanding of the full nature of Shalom. Saying a final farewell to Katie, I quickly found friends on the shuttle to DIA and focused forward toward home. As usual, I was set on enjoying every step of the adventure of getting there.
Over an hour later, at the airport, I scanned my boarding pass to find the ‘TSA pre-approved’ check I expect on every trip. Score! It’s a small thrill for this savvy traveler not to be required to stop and remove my shoes with long lines of weary others. Passing through the security check easily, I looked back to the conveyer, scanning the area to spot my bag. In a moment I located it and wondered why it had been set aside.
I waved my hand high, awkwardly offering my best law-abiding smile to the airport security lady.
“It’s okay! That’s my bag!”
I felt silly as the words came out of my mouth. Was I expecting my personal assurance and claim of ownership to change anything for this complete stranger?
The guard was clearly focused on her security work. A hand acknowledged me, giving the signal to wait. Instantly, I felt guilty. Is it possible to be criminal and not know it?
Embarrassment tinged my cheeks as I awkwardly tried to find a comfortable posture, shifting my feet like a child in the ‘time out’ corner.
The guard’s slightly curved lip hinted at amusement as she approached me.
“Look.” She raised both eyebrows as she held the Shalom rock and pointed to the snapshot of its image from the screening machine. Immediately, I understood.
“Dear Lord, it looks like a bomb.”
My sweet Shalom rock clearly resembled an explosive device in my bag coming through airport security. That rock. I closed my eyes and shook my head. Fumbling with apologies, attempting to explain the gift and feeling not at all ‘savvy’, I kissed my TSA pre-approval goodbye forever.
I mouthed a silent, “God bless you,” as I headed toward the gates.
She grinned back at me, and said, “Shalom to you.”
What a witness! I am reminded God can speak to us in whatever way He chooses. This particular gift of peace came packaged in a covering of grace to take me from pride to humility. The gift became richer as it was unwrapped. The power of peace must not be underestimated, and may be best experienced in small, unexpected ways.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:8 NKJV. (emphasis added).
In the Acts passage, power is “dunamis“, signifying power in action. The Greek root word of our English word, dynamite, is the explosive power of the Holy Spirit descending on those waiting in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost.
The dynamite power of the Holy Spirit continues in us who believe. It is the power we carry within, and the power we celebrate as we remember the time of Pentecost. Adding power to peace is the nature of the Shalom as indicated by the biblical Hebrew expression.
Understanding this biblical ‘Shalom’ includes an understanding of the fullness of peace within a child of God. Are we brimming over to the excess, spilling out our peace onto others? When we are completely peaceful, we will truly bubble over with peace.
Jesus, the Son of God, added peacemakers to a blessed, son-ship position along with Himself. The power of pure peace pouring onto others from within us makes us more like Him.
Explosive peace is the power of Shalom.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” ~ Matthew 5:9 NKJV.
During this time of expectant waiting for Pentecost, let us carry this full Shalom nature of God and let it bubble up and explode from us for His Kingdom glory.