Are we depending on ideal circumstances for a transient peace? Peace on our terms?
Peace between warring nations comes with a hard-fought truce. Peace between the oppressor and those afraid to resist comes at the price of slavery.
Peace pursued constantly through pleasure and consumption is a fantasy that leads to obsession with whatever it takes to live stress-free: comfort foods, constant distraction of entertainment, addictions.
We strive to live so that we don’t hurt anywhere. Our relationships work to our advantage. We have everything we want on our happiness checklist. For now.
Where is peace is our crises?
We ask God for peace. We ask him to take away our pain and struggles so that we can have peace. Yet in the middle of a health crisis, a faith crisis or a relationships crisis, where is God? We find him there with us. Like the soldier in battle or the cowering slave, we stay poised to discover the peace that defies our understanding—and our control. No one can take that peace away from us. Peace that doesn’t depend on shifting circumstances. Peace that isn’t vulnerable to the enemies of joy that snatch that conditional peace from us.
Our prayers often dictate to God what to give or take away to meet our low standard of peace. Can we trust him to give us not what we want but what we need? And that need is to discover the high peace of his Kingdom!
Ask the Prince of Peace
We can ask the Prince of Peace, who paid with his life for our peace, how we can live in lasting peace. He tells us in Matthew 14:17, “The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy, in the Holy Spirit.” He invites us into his Kingdom.
We enter his Kingdom when we surrender our lives, our circumstances, our aches and strivings — the elements we try to manipulate to capture the illusion of peace. Although this letting go is difficult, we have his peace only in the measure that we let him reign in our lives. Surrendering to his will settles us in the arms of Jesus. In his will is our peace.
Living in the will of God brings an inner peace and joy that the world cannot give, cannot understand and cannot take from us. Neither calling a truce nor afraid to resist, we set our hearts on him and abide in him in peace. That peace eludes us when we set our hearts on things or persons we’ll never control.
Jesus is the Master of the Universe. He is the source of everything good. In him we have all that we will ever need. He can give us anything he chooses, but first he wants our hearts. He will not give us our heart’s desires until we have first given him our hearts. He paid the cost for our peace and there is no peace apart from him.
What illusions of peace are costing you the genuine peace of the Kingdom?
(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward)