The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 7

 

We want to think of peace as the total cessation of all conflict. Our minds imagine this ideal status and apply it to every area of stress and struggle that we encounter during our days. Much like the voices of optimism that shout out “Peace in our time!” at the end of a large-scale war, we would like to be able to actually claim that the end of all conflict and pain is at hand, and that our efforts and sacrifice have made this dream-peace into reality. However, peace in our world will remain illusive, and conflict, pain, and death are our companions for the journey through our days on earth.

 

Yet, there is peace to be known in this world. Christ brought it into our atmosphere with Him, and He granted the gift of it to His people. In knowing Christ we have a form of hope that goes far beyond anything that human treaty or scientific discovery can provide. We possess a calm that is greater than any earthly storm. We can enter into faith in the loving grace and mercy of the Creator of all. His care and concern for our hearts, minds, and souls is tangible. Even when there is body-numbing pain present in and around me, God’s presence is real and His comfort deeply reassuring.

 

The broken nature of this world is very active in its attempts to draw our eyes away from the source of our confidence and strength in Christ. Circumstances and times of global violence, racial and ethnic hatred, relational discord, and personal suffering and loss will seek to gain the center of our focus and primacy in our hearts. These are difficult situations and seemingly unbearable circumstances that everyone will encounter. Yet, it is in these times that Christ makes the most sense as He provides both the wisdom to grasp the reality of what it means to live in a world that is perishing beneath the weight of sin, and He grants to His followers a hope for now and for the eternal future that makes all of the strife and struggle of this life into nothing more than a momentary episode in an unending story of existence in the presence of the Lord.

 

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