But what about when the news makes us think that this world is so broken, twisted, sinful, it is just beyond hope? What about the times we cry out “There is no peace! God, what’s happening?” There are Christians being beheaded in the Middle East, dangerous wildfires spreading in the western U.S., innocent people dying because of war, thousands of lives ending in abortion daily, families being broken by abuse, strife in government, and the list goes on. Even on our own campus, in our relatively safe and comfortable environments, problems and tragedies occur. We all live through it and feel the need for peace. When we look for peace in this world, in this fleeting earthly life of ours, it can be so very hard to find. The truth is, we need a completely different kind of peace than this world can offer. We need a true peace, free from sin and outside of ourselves.
Peace is a word thrown around a lot in our culture. Celebrities give millions to charities to help achieve “world peace”. Leaders in our nation say they want to strive to bring peace between political parties and between us and other countries. Religious denominations come together seeking peace and unity with one another. Our pluralistic culture is like the one that God warned Jerusalem of through the prophet Jeremiah: Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His death, He was honest with them about what this world held for them. He was honest in the most comforting of ways though. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33). There would be trouble. There would be persecution, hatred, and grief for the sake of believing in Him. But there would be peace in Him, and not a false peace as described in Jeremiah, not an unsure promise of peace like we so often see in our world today, not a pluralistic peace, not even a peace that we might feel in the solitude and safety of our own home and life.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:14-17 For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Paul was talking about the peace Christ made between Jews and Gentiles, bringing all of them into one body through the abolishing of the law because He fulfilled it perfectly. He took the sin of the world, past, present, and future upon Himself at the cross and rose victoriously. He affirmed this final victory to the disciples when He said But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33). As His baptized and redeemed people, we can be “in” the world but not “of” the world (John 17) knowing that Christ Himself is our peace. He Himself has overcome the world and promises us true peace in His name.
I encourage you to turn on the news, be informed, know what’s happening on campus, and in the community and world around us. Instead of being fed up or scared, let’s pray “Lord, have mercy!” and entrust ourselves to His ultimate peace as we await His return. “For He Himself is our peace.”
Contributed by Christiana