I know I am a little..okay, a lot.. late to be writing about the theme of Advent Week Two: Peace but, this week has been hectic! #Momlife am I right? But I digress… Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. He desires that we find peace with him not only in Heaven but also while we live out our lives here on Earth.
Sometimes I think of peace as if it is a destination. A thing to be earned and only attained when I accomplish my goals. I think to myself, maybe I will find peace when I fit into my old jeans, go out on a date with my husband, reconnect with my friends, or make more money. Self improvement is good and dreams and goals are great to have however, all of these things are conditional, and ultimately fleeting. My weight fluctuates, I argue with my husband, my friend flaked on me, the extra money I made is gone far more quickly than it was made. And I know that the same can be said for me. I am hardly the perfect wife, friend or mother!
The truth is that nothing and no one in this world are perfect. We all are flawed and so we can’t turn to ourselves, our spouses or our children for peace and comfort in the same way we can turn to the Lord. We just aren’t equipped to fulfill all of each others needs 100%; and that is as it should be! That way we are reminded to turn to the Lord above all else and when all else inevitably falls short. The peace we are offered through our relationship with Jesus however is ever-present and unconditional.
No matter what our circumstances we can take comfort in knowing that he is there, never-changing, and full of love and new mercy every day. Like everything else, God’s vision of peace for us is far above and beyond anything we could do or imagine for ourselves here on Earth. In John chapter 14 Jesus speaks to his disciples the night before he is to be crucified and promises them a supernatural peace through relationship with him and the indwelling of the holy spirit. He is sure to make a distinction between the peace the world gives and what he offers saying in verse 27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Indeed, this distinction shows that he knows the peace that this world offers is not enough.
God’s version of peace is not limited to just our interpersonal relationships. Isaiah describes the glorious world to come when Christ returns to reign and describes a utopian state of peace on Earth that we unfortunately will not see until then. Chapter 2 describes peace between nations and peoples:
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.- Isaiah 2:2-5
There is something so intriguing and poetic about weapons of death and destruction being re-purposed to garden, grow, and nourish. But, isn’t that just God’s character? To see potential for good, to lovingly transform? Chapter 11 confirms that this vision of harmony extends to all of his creatures saying:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. -Isaiah 11:6-9
Could you imagine living a world free of war and terror? Not with the news reporting tragedy and conflict daily. Or your infant playing in a cobra’s den?! No way! But, again, God sees and imagines so much more for us. Revelation brings this message straight to our hearts in chapter 21 verse 4 saying: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Faith in God might not be new age or popular but, it is ancient, beautiful, never-changing and constant. Though we can’t experience the fullness of the peace that is to come we are still meant to turn to the Lord to find some peace here on Earth. In a world where nothing is certain we can know for sure that God has a plan. The peace he brings is like nothing else and it is there and available to those who trust in him and believe. Let’s take comfort in the knowledge of the unimaginable peace to come and partake in the peace he offers us while we wait. Let us call on the holy spirit and allow some of that peace to dwell in our hearts, homes and lives today and every day.
Peace be with you,