This week, I watched a movie I’m going to recommend to my church. It’s called “Man of God” and is the story of St. Nektarios. The Church knows him as the Wonderworker. A priest and bishop, he served with great humility, despite the great unrest around him. Many accused him and resented his simple faith. He was not much interested in church politics or position. His desire was to serve the church faithfully.
There’s a scene I’ve been reflecting on. Without giving too many details, a man was saying goodbye to St. Nektarios. This man always had his doubts about the man of God, but, now, admitted his intrigue. “Do you have peace?” the Wonderworker asked. He did not, but didn’t care about that because all he wanted was truth. “Without having peace in your heart, you will never be able to know the truth,” St. Nektarios replied.
The man is off put because it seems God is withholding peace from him. And how could he have faith in light of reason?
I wanted to jump in the scene myself and be a part of the conversation. Not that my words could’ve helped anyone any more than another’s, but I want people to know what our faith assures us. Jesus gave us peace (John 14:27). It is something we receive. It is a blessing from God (Psalm 29:11). The man in the scene didn’t realize God wasn’t withholding anything from him. The Lord doesn’t dangle peace on a stick in front of us.
While peace is a gift from God, it is not some random faith souvenir. God is the God of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), the Lord of peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16). So, peace is a part of who God is. The man didn’t have it because he did not include God in his search. There’s no bread in a canoe factory.
What St. Nektarios believed and exemplified was a constant faith in God’s presence. Despite every trial, suffering or slander, he turned to God and thus received the peace of God. Not because God didn’t want him to have it without God, but because God is where peace comes from.