Take a moment to picture the scene, you are on a ship out at sea and all around you wave after wave of what seems like a brutal savage attack by water pounds the ship, cracking and breaking all that can broken, tossing and almost turning the poor little vessel.
Your hands are weary from your feeble attempts to throw the water out because it is coming in faster and in larger quantities than you can possibly empty it, you are fighting a losing battle. Perhaps many of us don’t relate to that picture right? How about this one, you are stressed at your workplace, job security is a word you are searching for in the dictionary, bills come in faster than you can pay them off or perhaps you walk into your home and joy and happiness are a rare sight, school/college or whatever choice of occupation only adds to what seems like a vicious cycle that offers no respite. If truth be told, the reality is that is what most of our lives are like or have been like, no matter how hard we try, it never brings the peace or joy we long for.
Do you have peace?
As I reflected back on my three decades on this earth and searched my own heart with an honest view, I concluded that the one thing that had always been elusive and missing in my life was peace. Though I could stand and outwardly put on a happy mask, deep down I could never answer the question “do you have peace? or “are you at peace?”.
A quick look around the world and the news headlines does not make happy reading too for anyone desperately seeking peace; wars and rumors of wars, strife, commotion seem to be the order of the day. Ironically many of the wars being an effort to achieve ‘global peace’. The question though perhaps one should ask is ‘can peace ever be attained by war or violence?’ Can a person be at peace outside without being at peace inside? Which comes first, inner peace or outward peace?
Wars have been fought to bring ‘peace’ and are currently being fought, armed forces deployed as ‘peacekeepers’ [a peace keeper bearing arms – the imagery somewhat ironic and an oxymoron] but the simple truth is the scope of our understanding of peace is something that can only be achieved by force. Albert Einstein once said, peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.Back to my own life, growing up in a household with two other siblings and recognizing that the quest for peace has never been something that is unique to big society but that even in the home there is need for peace made me understand the fact that as it is often said society is the product of what the home is; therefore for a society to be peaceful, its members need to have peaceful homes. The principle being, for the outward to be peaceful, the inward has to be peaceful first (dealing with the root). I quickly realized however that my solution to my peace problem always was to turn to one form of addiction or another, whether it be entertainment, sports, music, clubs or anything else to keep my mind away from the question of ‘if I was at peace’ but as much as I tried, the more the truth became more distinct that none of these things could really give me peace.
Peace has been defined as freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension. Pondering on this definition, I wonder how many can honestly put their hand up and say they are free in their mind from annoyance, anxiety etc? As I longed for an answer to how I could get this kind of peace in my life, I could not help but ponder on scripture as it says in John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Finally it made sense to me, peace is a gift from God, it is not something any man, woman or child can obtain but it is a gift from God which simply requires our acceptance of Him into our lives because without Him we cannot do anything and not until we accept His offer can we truly experience it in our individual lives.
Back to the storm at sea, now imagine in the middle of that storm and the pounding waves tearing the ship apart, there is an individual sleeping peacefully, a person at peace despite all that is going on around them; scripture tells the account of Jesus Christ sleeping peacefully during one such ordeal in Luke 8:22-25 and when the panic stricken disciples woke Him up, He simply rebuked the winds and raging water (the chaos factors) and there was peace. Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. Imagine now it is you at peace in the midst of the storm, you can stop imagining because that can be you, but only in Christ because without Christ, true peace will always remain a figment of the imagination and not a reality.
Peace is described as freedom of the mind from things that unsettle it, there is only one anecdote to free a person and that is truth, as Jesus framed it this way “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) If you truly want peace and to be at peace, seek for the truth and be ready to embrace it.
“Grace to you and peace”
the apostle Paul says in Galatians 1:3, his first words to the people; simple and yet so true: without grace, there is no peace, absolutely none!
True peace only comes when a man is at peace with God, I guess the logical question is ARE YOU AT PEACE WITH GOD? Because He wants to be at peace with you…