Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5: 1

 

Peace, we all want it; yet, it seems to work at being elusive. Peace is so hard to catch up to, it runs ahead a stays just one turn in the street and a couple of steps beyond reach all of the time. Despite the desires that most of us possess, a state of peacefulness is hard to settle into. Even the idea of resting peacefully can be disturbing and unsettling in itself. Turmoil and agitation are such a regular part of our world that they often define normalcy for us, and their absence is the thing that troubles the spirit and that incites the feet to run toward change. Yes, we are strange creatures, we humans; for, we claim to want to know peace and to have it settled deep in our beings; yet, we do almost anything to overturn its presence when it does happen to invade the place that we live.

 

Perhaps the issue is more with the place where we are looking for that peace and with the nature of the thing that we think that we desire. The peace that God wants to provide for us is different than that which we often say we want. Our first priority is for calm, quiet, and a form of settledness of the spirit that can accept life as it is with trust in God’s provision of an acceptable outcome. In itself, this is not a bad perspective, but it may not be the beginning place for the peace that God desires to see exist with us. The peace that God seeks to bring about in our lives starts at a higher place and has a purpose that transcends this world and our lives and that ventures forth into the eternal. The peace that comes through and by Christ comes about with no effort of ours and is a state of being that we either accept or fight against as it is conferred upon us by God.

 

All peace starts with Christ. There is no other way to commence understanding of it than by accepting Christ. He brings about healing and transformative change in our relationship with God, for Christ grants a new, redeemed relational status to each of us who surrender to Him. The war with God that exists from birth for each of us is settled by the blood of Christ’s cross, and we are established as residents in the Kingdom of God from that moment forward. This is not just a treaty status that can be easily revoked or modified; rather, it is a permanent recasting of the entire relationship with God that is formed out of faith in Christ and that is devised by God to grant us unending direct access to Him. This is the peace that all people actually need in order to know the sort of peace of the spirit that we think that we desire. The ability to live life with the certainty of our eternal status and with a state of being calm even in the great storms that come our way is the result of the peace that exists between ourselves and God, and Christ alone brings this peace into our souls.

 

 

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.