By B. Davis Campbell
I recently had the privilege of visiting Boston May 21-23 on a speaking engagement. Being in the medical profession, I had been invited by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses to give a lecture on chest pain. Having never visited Boston before, I had anticipated the trip for months.
Then the unthinkable occurred on April 15. Two terrorist bombings struck along the Boston Marathon route, killing and maiming scores of runners and onlookers. The city was practically shut down for several days while law enforcement officers hunted for the alleged killers. The subway service was even halted for a brief period of time.
Thankfully, after a gun battle with law enforcement, one terror suspect was killed and another wounded. The second suspect would later be found hiding in a boat behind a house in a residential district. After the arrest of the second suspect, the city of Boston returned back to normal.
As I walked around the streets of Boston, I felt a sense of peace, a totally different atmosphere I imagine than the anguish of the days after the terrorists’ attack. In general terms, I observed how children were playing, joggers were running, tourists (such as myself) were visiting historical sites and taking photographs, businesses were operating while buses and subways were transporting. You could say it was basic Boston city life.
Although I felt overwhelmed of being in a bustling metropolis, there was still that sense of serenity and security.
One night I met some friends at a restaurant for dinner and had the option of taking a taxi back to my hotel after darkness had engulfed the city. However, even though it was a 15-minute walk back to the hotel at night, I opted to walk back as I noticed the number of people out on the streets. Many people were out walking, going in and out of restaurants and bars and so forth. There were even some city workers repairing the streets. In other words, I sensed no danger whatsoever. Maybe I was just a naïve person from Alabama visiting the big city (I was also trying to save money by not taking a taxi). But again, in my spirit, there was calmness as I wandered around the city. Why was that? Because the terror in the city had been removed. The terrorists had been killed and captured. There was no conflict.
This experience in Boston reminded me of a great spiritual lesson. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” My Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible states that the Greek word used for peace here, “eirene,” means the absence or end of strife. It is “a state brought about by the grace and loving mind of God wherein the derangement and distress of life caused by sin are removed.” Romans 5:10 further describes how we were “enemies” of God but later “reconciled…through the death of His Son…”
Think about it. Redeemed mankind is no longer at odds with the Heavenly Father but can have a joyful connection through the Son. No conflict, but a peaceful relationship. That’s exactly what I observed in Boston. It was “eirene,” or absence of conflict. The distresses of life (in this case caused by terrorists) had been removed. Hence, as were all Bostonians and tourists, I was able to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of city life.
Nevertheless, lest we forget, the peace I experienced in Boston was only temporary. Surely there were crimes being committed out of my line of sight. Sad to say, there is always the possibility of another terrorist attack in the future. However, the peace that God provides through my relationship with Jesus, whether I’m in the big city or back home in Pinson, assures me of an absence of conflict throughout eternity. Mind you, Boston was a great city to visit and I’ll remember the experience for a long time.
Yet, the majesty of that city doesn’t compare with the glories of heaven reserved for believers one day. There will be a total absence of conflict. I’m certainly looking forward to that, even more than my recent Boston trip. Now go in peace.
B. Davis Campbell is a nurse practitioner and a cancer survivor who lives in Pinson. He is the author of “A Place I Didn’t Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer.”