Peace. Shalom. Friede. Irini. Paz. Paix. Siochain. Heiwa. Vrede. Pokoj. Mir. Pace. Dohiyi. Peace – the absence of conflict. Peace is a concept that is pretty much understood all over the world, no matter which language you use to say the word. I believe that we each have a innate need to experience mutual harmony between ourselves and others, to be without strife, to experience tranquility and serenity in our lives. I like it when things are peaceful and harmonious.
Yet, our world often doesn’t offer us peace. We squabble amongst ourselves in our home, at our place of work, in our government, and from nation to nation. Pretty much everyone I know wants peace. But like perfection, peace, especially world peace, seems to be elusive, if not unattainable. Why? To establish peace between ourselves and others means that we need to willingly cooperate together all across the world. I don’t know about you, but I will tell you that I don’t always willingly cooperate within my own home at all times; nor do the others who live with me. In my home, when we agree on something to accomplish, it sometimes ends up that we each have different ideas on how to achieve the goal. One thinks that their way is better, while others think opposite. Egos get in the way and conflict arises when we cannot agree. And, that’s just in one home. Repeat that in our Church. Repeat that in our workplace. Repeat that in our local community. Repeat that in our region of the country. Repeat that all across the nation. Repeat that all across the world. If we cannot agree within our homes, how can we possibly agree around the world?
Research contradicts whether the world has ever achieved the elusive world peace. One source stated that out of the last 3,400 years of history, only 268 of those years were without a war taking place in the world. (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html) But in that source, it’s not clear whether those figures include civil unrest, etc. It seems like most agree that there’s not been a time since the fall of Adam and Eve, where the world has been at peace.
Our guidebook, the Bible, shares stories after stories about conflict between God’s people amongst themselves, and conflict between God’s people and those who do not know God. So, conflict never ends. As Christians we know that peace comes from God, and relationship with Him. The absence of peace comes from Satan. Jesus himself warned us in John 16:33 when He said “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” So where is peace? Peace is found in Jesus – in Him alone. Paul adds this: “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14, ESV). Paul also tells us that: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7, ESV). When we place our faith in Jesus, He promises that through trust and a thankful attitude we can experience tranquility and calmness that is unnatural in this world, provided that we place our total confidence that God is willing and able to do whatever is best for us, His children.
Personally, as God’s child, I choose to claim that peace, God’s peace, for myself. When Satan throws troubles my way, I have a greater weapon and advocate on my side. I may not always immediately remember that God’s supernatural peace resides within me when I first face calamity, but eventually, when my mind clears a bit, I remember that God is in control and I can pass along my worries into His capable hands. Even Jesus’ own words confirm to me that I have nothing to fear when I am in Him: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, ESV)
Just today I found a verse that really spoke to this conflict that Satan continually throws at us – it’s a verse that I’ve read before, but today the Lord really brought it into focus: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Romans 16:20, ESV). We can, and should, have confidence that God defeats Satan every time, and when Jesus comes again, Satan will be crushed and defeated for all time. Through God, we have the victory. With God is peace, true peace.