Peace. Is peace the absence of conflict? Or is it, perhaps, something more substantive than that?
I am sure I am not the only one who has gone to some sort of event — for many it is a family gathering — under the guise of peace. The goal is to eliminate arguments, fist fights and undercurrents of sarcasm and the gathering is declared a peaceful event. When in reality, all participants have silently agreed to lay aside their differences for a day or two in order to experience a “peaceful” event. The underpinnings of trouble are still there, dormant for the moment but always primed to burst into full view given the chance.
One of the descriptive phrases Isaiah uses to describe Jesus is Prince of Peace.
6For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6
The Hebrew word translated peace is shalom, a word many of us have heard at one time or another. The word is a noun and means holistic peace and well-being. Holistic means to emphasize the whole of something rather than its parts. So, the peace that Jesus brings is about your whole being — mind and heart. I really love this word.
Later in Isaiah’s writing, he describes the condition of the people of God. They struggled to live well. He describes them in this way . . .
8They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.Isaiah 59:8
It sounds a lot like people today. Where do we find peace? Even in places we might expect to find peace, there is conflict and unrest. Isaiah announced the coming of the Messiah and, in Jesus, his prophecies are fulfilled. The gospel of John records Jesus’ declaration of peace in his final words to the disciples before the crucifixion.
27“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.John 14:27
33I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
The place to find peace is in Jesus. He gives holistic peace — of both mind and heart — that the world cannot replicate. You see, this world will bring trouble, but Jesus says to TAKE HEART! He has overcome the world.
Are you weighed down under a load of mental anguish? Does your heart cry out for peace? Is your mind exhausted? Perhaps it is time to respond to the invitation of Jesus to take on his yoke and leave your burdens with him. Allow him to ease the pain and fill you with his peace.
One more scripture comes to mind. Read Paul’s words to the believers in Philippi.
6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
As always, this type of work is best done in the company of a good spiritual advisor or friend. If you find you have no one, feel free to reach out to me through the contact link above.