Psalm 29:1 “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”
All you have to do is switch on the television any night of the week and tune into any newscast and you will see that we are living in the midst of a world full of turmoil. Most of what appears on the news is bad news. If that news was all we had to gauge our world by, we would stay in a constant state of depression.
Things are going wrong. People are fighting all over the world. In many lands there is much turmoil, war, conflict, and international confrontation. Even right here in Australia there is internal strife. Our age is characterised by an absence of peace and a presence of turmoil. We could probably name another fifty other countries with internal strife, turmoil, and civil war going on right now.
Why do we live in such turmoil? One succinct answer is that we are ourselves in turmoil. This observable outward conflict is merely the evidence of the inward turmoil that men and women have in this world. The war, struggle, strife and confrontation going on in our world is simply a depiction of the inner turmoil going on within the souls of men and women. Lack of peace in nations reflects a lack of peace in people.
Just look at the worldly quest for peace. Peace movements are nothing new. There have always been those who cry “peace!” Many do so today. There are demonstrations and protests for peace. And it seems to me that any person who has a respect for life should want peace. Yet we do not have peace. Why?
Perhaps the answer lies in the nature of the peace we are pursuing. It is apparent that there are many in this world frantically involved in a quest for peace, but is the peace that is being sought true peace?
Jesus gives us an interesting insight into true peace:
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.”
Jesus clearly distinguishes the kind of peace He is giving with the kind of peace that the world offers. Could it be that He is saying that some people pass off for peace what is not really peace at all?
There does seem to be some biblical precedent for this happening.
Ezekiel 13:10 “(some) have misled my people by saying, ‘peace!’ when there is no peace.”
When we speak of peace, we must be careful to understand what true peace really is. If we do not understand the true definition of peace, we may be misled into believing there is peace when there is none.
One of the definitions the world uses for peace is that peace is the absence of conflict. Many people, who fight so stridently for peace, view peace merely as cessation of hostility.
Now, it certainly would be good for those nations who are fighting with one another to lay down their arms and try to work out their problems in another way. We should be all for that! But as Christians we must be concerned with more than that. That is not enough, because peace is not merely an absence of conflict. You see, when the outward conflict dies down then the inner conflict begins to come to the surface.
The real need for humankind is more than an absence of physical conflict in the world, it is for true inner peace. Unfortunately, until people can find that inner peace, it seems that we are going to continue to experience hostility and conflict. We desperately need true inner peace.
God is the source of that true peace. True peace, the kind of peace that we long for deep in our hearts, can only come from God.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
The real key to peace is trusting in God because He is the source of peace. As we trust in Him, we experience what you might call peace from God. Our trust places us in the position where the basis for peace is shifted from ourselves and our circumstances to the faithfulness of the God of the universe.