We recognize an auto immune disease when a body’s immune system goes bonkers and starts attacking and damaging its own tissues. We also recognize a family in trouble when family members won’t stop hurting each other. We all need unity and peace. Our bodies can’t function without it. Societies can’t prosper without it.
Jesus, aka the Prince of Peace, is the source of peace. Wouldn’t it behoove the Prince of Peace to eliminate global warfare? Curiously, ending military conflicts has never been the first on His agenda – His peace movement will eventually lead to that, but first and foremost Jesus is interested in bringing peace to the human soul. Wherever we are, whoever we are, His peace offer stands – if He finds you knocking on Heaven’s door, He will open it wide and let you in.
In the 66 books of the Bible peace is mentioned 249 times. Today’s world is riddled with friction, and this is probably the reason why the Bible emphasizes our need for peace. A disciple whom Jesus nicknamed Peter wrote in one of his letters (1 Peter 3:8):
“Finally all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” *New Living Translation
There is such a thing as a recipe for peace – according to Peter’s recommendations here are its listed ingredients:
Be of one mind – in order to be on the same page with another person we need to refrain from assumptions, ask questions to clarify and explain our own thought process.
Sympathize – walking in someone else’s shoes is generally an eye opener.
Love – treat every person with respect.
Be tenderhearted – empathy goes a long way and is a blessing for anybody facing life’s rough patches.
Be humble – humility brings people together; pride will drift us apart.
Nobody understands people better than God. When we have trouble understanding each other He is the best source of wisdom. Agreement, consensus and harmony require a lot of work, but believers are not without help. With the Holy Spirit in their midst God’s children have a very efficient means of communication. God’s Spirit will guide them into all the truth giving them understanding even in most perplexing matters. United in Spirit and in truth, the bond that connects believers goes deep. Loving one another and working together with one mind and purpose, God brings peace into this hurting world.
When unrighteousness is revealed and the guilty are called out, the prophet Isaiah asks the faithful to pray. Interestingly he calls them to go home and shut the door (Isaiah 26:20):
“Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.”
Coincidentally this resembles 2020 shelter-in-place orders, a decree for people to stay in their homes to avoid infection. On March 11, 2020 the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and in the same month a national emergency was declared in the United States.
According to Isaiah there is a time for disclosure (Isaiah 26:21):
“See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.”
In recent years, innocent bloodshed, racial hate crimes and long-hidden sexual abuse cases have gone public in the US. These things are no longer concealed, but revealed. Injustice is a festering wound of any nation and only by cleansing and dressing the wound can there be a chance of healing. We grieve, address the issues, and get ready to initiate the necessary changes. Heaven cries as earth is going through terrible times (Isaiah 24:4):
“The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth.”
Nobody enjoys disclosure and being judged, but it is a necessary evil. Without it we’re stuck. We need to keep trusting the Lord as we go through periods of reckoning. God is our judge, but He also has all the empathy we can hope for. Perfect peace is promised to His children in the middle of a storm.
One of the many ways God has sided with humankind is by way of language. We can literally discover Him when we open the Bible and start reading. The Scriptures appear like corrective lenses through which we can view the Big Three more clearly: God, humanity, and the world.
God communicates. He breathes His Spirit through His Word, and His Word brings life. God spoke the universe into existence; in the same way He speaks life over our dead human spirit. His intention is to revive us. That’s the spiritual reality which offers an amazing opportunity, a door wide open for every person on this planet.
When after His resurrection Jesus entered the room where His followers were hiding, He came with peace. “Peace be with you!” He said. His presence turned everything around. Jesus still has this effect on people. He currently prays for you and me; and He speaks peace over our anxious souls.
Trusting in God diminishes our worries. The peace of God makes everything better, even in the worst of circumstances. It’s the kind of peace that no one can explain. God just is and so is His peace. We can rest in His presence because we belong to Him.
We all come from God. Our souls inside of us know that, and our souls long to return. We need to follow the prodding of our souls. Returning to God closes the cycle and makes everything complete. That’s the secret of God’s peace.
When booking a flight I always try to reserve an aisle seat. Without having to climb over several legs it is much easier to get out. But I must admit that I am also a bit claustrophobic. Claustrophobia is an irrational fear. It is unlikely that a small, stuffy room poses any mortal danger and yet, this is exactly how I feel – like I’m suffocating.
Overdue bills can have a claustrophobic effect on us. We are financially at a dead end when we don’t know where to go and what to do to pay our next bills.
What can people do to us? A whole lot! People can encourage us but they can also destroy us. Bullies can pin us to a corner until we feel that there is no escape.
How do we humanly react to tight places? If in trouble, we instinctively revert to flight or fight. We either run or we fight back. However, neither approach works in tight places. How do we run away when we are caught in a trap? How do we fight back when we are at a dead end?
Trapped in sinking sand we need outside help. It is practically impossible to free ourselves once we are stuck. Except, there is still one thing we still can do – We can cry out.
Even though it does not sound very attractive, crying like a baby is the smartest move in tight places. The key to freedom is prayer. We cry out to God and immediately the tides turn in our favor. When we entrust ourselves to the King of kings and Lord of lords we are in capable hands and we are no longer helpless.
It is not our smart minds that move the world. Our prayers do. Prayers are by no means our last resort. How often prayers have changed the course of history is unknown. But this much we do know: Waiting on the Lord He blesses us with peace that nobody can explain.