Saturday, August 27, 2016

In Search of Peace

(Kingsport Timesnews 8/26/15)

There are some people who are concerned about the advances in Artificial Intelligence, they lose sleep at night because they are fearful computers will one day take over and enslave the human race.  Who isn’t at least a little worried about terrorism these days?  What about our rocky economy, can you say that it doesn’t trouble you from time to time? Most everyone is talking about our upcoming presidential election and most people are disturbed at the possibility of whoever our next leader might be.  Some folks are saying, we are entering another Cold War with Russia.  

What about closer to home?  It’s normal for couples to argue or for families to have strife from time to time, and even churches can wrestle over changes that need to be made, but what happens when a particular conflict continues?  

It doesn’t seem like there’s any corner of our life that is completely free from difficulties and it’s safe to say, you don’t have to look too far to find situations which disturb us.  What we long for most in this life, I’d venture to say, is peace.  

I know we long for God’s presence, and we long for good health, and we want our families to be safe & healthy, and we seek security, but I believe what we are really looking for is peace.  I’m not sure we will ever have the complete absence of trouble in this life like we want.  In fact I’m pretty convinced in this life we will face trials and tribulations, but the promise is we can have peace.    

How can we find peace when the world feels like it is crumbling around us, when evil seems to be growing stronger each day, and when life holds so much misery and sorrow?  Perhaps in the midst of such pain, we might not see the peace we desire in the moment, but then again, sometimes we focus our attention in the wrong places.

If we are trying to generate our own peace, by our own efforts, or if we are seeking peace in the wrong places, we will never find satisfaction.  Unfortunately, I think we depend on the world around us to deliver the very peace it robs us of.  We mistakenly think peace comes from having a title, position, possessions, or perhaps from our own abilities.   

Jesus leaves His disciples with the promise of peace -- all the while acknowledging they will be living in the midst of chaos, “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.” (John 16:33 ESV)

Perhaps peace isn’t so much the absence of strife, but maybe peace has something to do with the assurance that all is well despite the circumstances that surround us.  Our problems and difficulties are at best temporary, they can’t last.  They don’t seem like they will ever go away, but just like a child who thinks Christmas will never arrive, time passes and our situation will change too.

I’ve seen plenty of people who felt like they were on the brink of disaster, and, I’ve been through my share of painful situations, and while all of us have struggled to see a brighter future, we survived even when we were less than optimistic.  Not everyone saw the results they wanted or experienced the improvements they hoped for, but along the way we’ve all learned valuable lessons through the pain, grew stronger as a result, and found peace in knowing God never abandons those whom He loves.  

So, no, we aren’t exempt from conflict, distressing situations, or agitating circumstances in this life.  But we are promised peace, by Him Who has overcome the world.  And in this divine promise, there is an eternal reason to hope.  May you find the peace which far exceeds all of our understanding or comprehension, and may you rest easily and securely in Jesus and His powerful presence.  

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