During the Christmas season, simply walk into any store and you’ll find it on display everywhere: the word PEACE.
Our understanding of peace, though, is often skewed. Peace doesn’t come simply by everything going our way. Peace doesn’t come with the elimination of difficult or scary situations. Peace doesn’t come with the American dream. Peace doesn’t come with riches, comfort, success.
Peace comes with Emmanuel. God in the flesh is the only thing that can bring peace to humanity.
Is this really true, though? When we look at the world around us, it doesn’t seem like there’s much peace. Was Jesus ineffective in bringing peace to the world?
Far from it. Like most principles of God’s Kingdom, peace presents itself vastly different than we think.
Peace RELIES on the presence of God.
He is not a God who is far. The Lord of hosts is with us— a phrase that is repeated in Psalm 46. It brings peace to the hearts of his children to know that the Father is near. We need the presence of a peace-keeper so that troubled situations don’t escalate. “God is our refuge and strength, a very PRESENT help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1) Peace is not the absence of conflict, it’s a sense of calm within the conflict. A reality that only God can produce in our hearts.
Peace REMEMBERS the shelter of God.
Fighting for peace means fighting to remember who God is. “The God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:7). Have you ever seen a fortress in person? It’s an impressive symbol of security, protection, safety. This is who God is for his people. A shelter from the storms of life, a safe place to hide us from danger. We are fragile but his strength fortifies us and gives us peace.
Peace RESTS in the city of God.
When the attack is on, staying still is not necessarily our natural response. We want to strive, push forward, go on the offense. But what we see in Psalm 46 is a call to stop and acknowledge God.
“Be still and know that I am God” (v. 10).
A lack of peace results when we try too hard to control the world around us.
If I could just say the right thing, do the right thing, try harder, keep moving forward…
Meanwhile, God is totally capable. We are weighed down trying to carry things we were never meant to carry. He’s got it. Peace comes when we’re able to rest, knowing that God is in control and we don’t have to figure it all out. Ultimately, this world is not our home. We are citizens of the city of God! (Psalm 46:4-5) And this city, with its perfection and ultimate sense of peace, is what our hearts long for. “God is in the midst of her; she will not be moved” (Psalm 46:5).
– Nik Greenfield