It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher that we live in a world seemingly out of control. If one were to pick words to characterize the current state of these days, “peaceful” would probably fall to the very bottom of that list. Wars, famine, racial division and strife, political corruption, persecution, poverty, COVID-19 – the list is seemingly endless when one contemplates brokenness in all its forms.
And if the external hostilities aren’t enough, on top of that, many of us face internal hostility and strife. If we’re honest with ourselves, in our heart of hearts, many of us are afraid, tired, depressed, and wondering when this heartache will cease and peace will abound. When we find ourselves losing heart, sometimes our faith can be lost with it. We begin to question if God is still active and present in our world.
The Bible doesn’t deny the pain of our current predicament. The Bible doesn’t sugarcoat the brokenness in our world and treat it as an illusion. But the Bible does provide a solution in the midst of it. Although final freedom from external hostilities may never be fully realized until Christ returns, faith in Jesus makes it possible for a person to experience inner peace and freedom from fear, sin, and death.
When Paul was writing his letter to the Romans, in secular Greek (the language the New Testament was written in), there was a negative connotation to the idea of “peace.” The word only denoted that strife had been taken away; it was a ceasing or absence of enmity between two warring parties. However, Paul uses “peace” in a context that puts more of a positive connotation on it. Not only has something been taken away (namely, hostility), something has been given to us, as well — God’s favor. God is for us. He is concerned with our well-being and our lives. He is our Advocate, even when all those around us turn away.
God doesn’t promise us an easy, carefree life, free from pain and hardship. But He does promise that when we do feel burdened by the weight of our broken world, when we walk through grief and suffering, and when conflict seems to rage all around us, we can still have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God is now with us and God is now for us.
If you haven’t experienced this kind of peace, you can today. Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1). Call on Christ in faith, and the peace of Christ will be yours by His grace. And for Christians who have already placed their belief in Jesus, be reminded and comforted that all Jesus said to us in His Word is given so that we “may have peace” (John 16:33).
Written by Austin Baker, Teaching Pastor at JFBC