So, what exactly is peace? Is it a lack of turmoil? A state of being, like the one that Po was trying to achieve in Kung Fu Panda 2? Is it just a polite greeting or benediction? We all want peace – world peace, peace within our families, peace and quiet, peace in our hearts. I looked up the dictionary definition (both Webster’s and the Bible dictionary), and the definitions were quite similar. They both alluded to a general lack of strife (personal and community; i.e., lack of war) as one definition, a state of tranquility, as a state of security, and, yes, as a greeting. My favorite definition, however, I found in the English learners dictionary: “a state in which a person is not bothered by thoughts or feelings of doubt, guilt, worry, etc.” I think that this is what most people want when they think of peace.
There are many things that threaten our peace. Uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, danger, pain, and guilt can snatch peace from our lives in an instant. But, we all know people who go through trials apparently unfazed, taking each turn in life in stride with a confidence that can make us wonder if their perception of reality just might be a little off. “How can they smile and be OK at a time like this? They are so brave! Denial!” Our reactions can be more extreme than their own. Is there a secret? How do they do it? I believe that Scripture gives us a prescription for peace.
OK, I’m going to try my hand at some alliteration. This may be a poor list of things that can bring us peace, but it may be helpful.
- The Provider and Prince of Peace: God Himself 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Ephesians 2:14 We cannot have true, lasting peace apart from God. And, when we learn to abide in Him, we can find that He is really all we need – our Provider, Protector, Savior. This should lead to a true, abiding peace that never changes, because God never changes.
- Pursue the faith that brings peace. Hebrews 11:1. When we are sure of the reality of the love of the God of the universe, many of our troubles become lighter when viewed in relation to this awesome truth.
- Prayer that leads to peace. Philippians 4:6-7 When we know and trust in the Prince of Peace, we will have a tendency to run to Him in times of trouble, and He will guard our hearts and minds in Him!
- Ponder the Word of God. Psalm 119:165. When we know God’s Word, we can know the peace of God. We have direction for our lives, and the answers to many of life’s most perplexing questions.
- Principled living. Psalm 34:14, Psalm 85:10. When we live righteously, and keep short accounts with God, confessing our sin to Him on a regular basis, we can avoid much guilt and trouble in our lives. This will give us the ability to sleep soundly at night, and smile throughout our days.
There will be times then we will not feel at peace. Times, in fact, when we will be devastated. Paul spoke of a time in his life when he and his companions “despaired even of life.” But, through all of our “light and momentary afflictions”, we can have the peace that comes from knowing that God is in control, and that He loves us.
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”- Numbers 6:24-26
And keep abiding on.