Every day we see a major lack of peace. On a large world wide scale down to our individual lives. It is so hard to keep the peace in our lives. We are bombarded daily with constant changes and noise. We feel like we can't get a grip on one crisis before another one comes along. In our personal lives we juggle families, work, money, bills, school, and volunteer commitments that all leave us feeling like deflated balloons by the end of the day. Life is coming at us from a thousand different directions, no wonder everyone feels like they're just making it through the day.
Many people today struggle with anxiety disorders. I personally have had a life-long battle with anxiety. This is often a very misunderstood issue. You will hear "you look like you feel fine" or “don't you look nice today." Meanwhile inside, your stomach is turning a million miles an hour like an engine that never shuts off. The kicker is when you hear "just give it to God" or “what scripture are you standing on?" This ends up making you feel like a failure in your faith, like you're not trusting enough in God to control your anxiety. Don't get me wrong! I believe very much that God is our ultimate healer. But, I also believe sometimes healing from things like this is a process and there are things God wants us to learn during the process so we never pick it back up again.
So, with all of the challenges we face in our worlds, big and small, how are we ever supposed to keep our peace? What does Jesus say to us about these things?
In John 14:27 Jesus says, "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." Jesus is saying here that He gives us peace, He is our peace. Peace not like the world gives. I have to say, in my 40 years of experience on this earth, I don't think the world has ever given me peace. Jesus knew when He said this how much unrest there would be in our world. Nothing is in the Bible accidentally. He knew what we would face before we ever saw it coming.
Paul also speaks to us about his decision to choose peace and joy in unrest and trials. In Philippians 4:11 he says, "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."
And in Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Paul knew with all his experiences that the Lord gives us peace and it's our choice to receive it or reject it. Clearly, it's a choice to live in peace. No matter what we are facing, what unrest is out in the world or in our own lives - we choose. It's a choice we face daily. Are we going to pick up the peace or the anxiety and unrest? Every morning it's a new day and a new choice.
I used to think, probably like most people do, that when I get to this certain place in life it will be smooth sailing. I'll have it figured out. There will be enough money, the kids will be under control, and that relationships will work themselves out. I was wrong! Life just continues to happen day after day exchanging one issue for the next. Now I realize, that's just life!
If we are to be the example God asked us to be to the world, we must make our peace a priority. We will never be the example of a problem free life but one of maintaining our peace through all of life's punches.
That right there is the greatest example, pointing back to Christ. Whatever the devil or life throws our way to take us down, we get right back up, owning our peace.
Today whatever you are facing in your life and in your world, I urge you to choose peace. Life will never stop but neither will the love and peace of Jesus.