Conflict, uncertainty is such a big part of our lives. We may wish for a kinder, gentler time, but it never really did exist. In most of human recorded history, people have been at war with one another. In roughly 3400 years, only 268 years, roughly 8% of the time have not known a war. People are at it with one another, American culture daily finds something about which they should be outraged or offended. There was an assault case in Florida in a senior center over someone cutting into the line at a salad bar.
These are the outside visible things, we have internal stresses we deal with as well:
- Wondering about a college major to choose.
- Wondering if we will ever find “Mr. Right”.
- Our company is merging, will I still have a job?
- The doctor says I need some tests.
- I am concerned about choices my adult children are making.
Sometimes we stress more over what might happen, than what actually does! Peace! Can I find Peace?
So what is peace?
It is the absence of conflict, that is, everything is okay and nothing is wrong. Did you EVER have a day like that? Some days were better than others obviously, but that kind of peace is next to impossible to produce no matter how much we might try. Partly this is why there is so much substance abuse, people buy into the myth of the pain-free life and try to induce it. In this world, the peace people looking for is impossible to achieve.
But Jesus offers a better way.
He said, “My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). The key thought is a phrase in the second sentence. “Not as the world gives”. Jesus is offering His peace, but it is not peace that is total absence of conflict. His peace is IN SPITE OF all the conflict. The mess, the stress, the conflict is still going on, but I am at peace in the middle of it. That is the peace that Jesus offers.
First we want to find peace with Jesus.
“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and we exult in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1,2). Having placed our faith in Jesus Christ, we have forgiveness of our sins, new life in Him, and peace with God forever, which is the best peace of all.
But beyond that, we can have peace, in spite of the bad things that go on all around us, because WE are okay. We depend on Jesus, not on all the other things that are shaky at best.
Have you found peace with Jesus?
A contest was held to paint a painting entitled “peace”. All sorts of entries were brought:
- beautiful sunsets
- mountain valleys full of flowers
- sweet flowing streams.
But the one that won was kind of odd. A lightning storm in the rocks above the timberline. Wind and dark clouds. And a gnarled tree, barely hanging onto the mountainside in the storm. It had a tiny bird on it….asleep.