At this time of year we hear a lot of talk about peace. We have sung Silent Night. We have thought of the baby in the manger and the stillness of Christmas morning. Yet, even in these scenes there is the reminder that all is not still. The animals would have made noise. The visit of the shepherds was certainly quite a ruckus! And overshadowing it all is the constant threat of violence. There is the threat of incidental violence as the holy family travels: first to Bethlehem and then to Egypt. Then there is the specific threat from Herod after the visit of the Wise Men. So if our vision of peace is based upon circumstances, that coming of our Lord Jesus was a mixed bag. Some peace (like when Jesus was sleeping) and some struggles (like when trying to travel with a new born over hundreds of miles.
Is this the type of peace Jesus offers? Is it simply the absence of hurt or struggles? No. He offers more. It is a peace of the soul that surpasses struggles. It is also a life of peace that we must choose.
What is peace? Peace is a heart that lives in and trusts the promises of God. Jesus is the giver of promises. It is in trusting those promises that we find His peace. The key of peace is trust. It is a trust deeper than mental acceptance or understanding. It is a personal understanding of those promises that affects how we see the circumstances of our life.
Let me use a human illustration… Think about a person you trust. When they say they are going to pick you up at 7 and they are late what do you think? Remember, you trust them… Isn’t your first thought, “I wonder what is holding them up?” Your second thought is this wish, “I hope nothing bad has happened to them.” It is only if they are really late or if they don’t call that you begin to suspect that they have forgotten you. Why is that? It is because you trust them. So instead of attributing their lateness thoughtlessness or cruelty, you assume they have been held up. Consider the situation if it was someone you didn’t trust. If they are late your first thought might be, “Here they are letting me down again.” Or your second thought would be, “Why don’t they ever call when they can’t make it!” How we trust someone affects how we understand the bumps we have with them. How we trust someone changes whether we believe those bumps are just unfortunate circumstances or a pattern of thoughtlessness and carelessness.
The prophet Isaiah describes this relationship between trust and peace as he describes the kingdom of Christ. He says,
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”Isaiah 26:3
As we trust His promises, Jesus gives us a real peace that never needs to be returned nor ever expire. He said to the disciples,
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”John 14:26-27
The world expects peace to be fleeting. The world expects peace to be something that ebbs and flows according to our circumstances. Why is that? It is because the world treats God like a friend it can’t trust. When circumstances are rough, the world assumes the worst of God. When the world doesn’t get what it wants, it assumes that God has let it down.
What about you and me? How do we approach trusting God? This isn’t just about believing God is right or even powerful. Trusting God isn’t just about walking in faith either. It is about how do we see our relationship with this God that in whom we have faith. This trust of God’s promises in Jesus is the foundation of peace. The issue of trust is at the heart of experiencing peace. It is the foundation of living in peace regardless of circumstances. So, identifying which way we trust God is very important. We all want peace. Do we see God as One in whom we can trust our present? It is here that we find peace. We find peace in trusting our promise making God.
Something to think about,