There is a peace that the world advertises to us moment by moment, promising safety, and at the center of this peace is the most important thing: me. But this peace of the world can only exist in one way, by circumstance. Within these circumstances, I fear changes & the unknown because this peace is at it’s best when it is looking out for me. They can call it my way, my endeavor, my journey – ultimately, it’s about pursuing the safety of me.
When I have enough money in the bank that I could withstand a bad economy – I will have peace.
When the recognition and position finally comes my way at work – I will have peace.
When I look in the mirror and love the way I look – I will have peace.
When nobody tells me what to do with my spare time – I will have peace.
When the tests come back healthy – I will have peace.
When the security system is the best money can buy – I will have peace.
When nobody critiques anything I do – I will have peace.
When everyone wants to be me – I will have peace.
Conversely, the peace of God only exists in relationship. It’s a restoration of relationship between all that is and God the Father, God the Son & the Holy Spirit. Within this unity of the Godhead, there is harmony & connection with the world and all that it has created – it is shalom. It doesn’t promise me safety, but instead warms me not to seek safety in the things of this world. By no means does it make life easy or simple – but it means you’re not alone. It transcends circumstances to the place where the unknown becomes commonplace because the peace of God isn’t scared by the unknown. With this peace, I realize that I am not at the center of the universe.
When the economy fails – There is shalom.
When my father dies before his time – I am not alone because God’s family has adopted me.
When the job I knew I could never lose, suddenly is no longer mine – I know I can trust in the provision of my Father.
When the roads get slick and the car is out of control – I call out the name of my Father, not in vain, but in hope.
When the front door is kicked in at 2 o’clock in the morning – I search for his protecting arms.
When my the love of my life tells me they no longer love me – He knows my fears, my cray & my heart.
When the doctor can’t find out what is wrong – I am aware of his all encompassing knowledge & plan.
When I hurt those that I love the most – I am with him, he moves me towards his image.
Within God’s peace, the question stops being when and starts becoming who – it becomes about Jesus. That being said, the peace in which we pursue becomes increasingly important.
If I pursue the world’s peace, I would never sign up to adopt a refugee family as they arrive in my neighborhood. These strangers in a foreign land actually threaten my peace – they risk me questioning the amount of non-essential things I buy when I see them living on next-to nothing. The language barrier alone would make me feel uncomfortable and anxious. They are the epitome of a task with no end & no certainty of personal accomplishment. But the list goes on:
The elderly widow that would love someone to talk with.
Families with critically ill children.
The “Jon’s” who risk imprisonment for a moment of perverted intimacy.
At risk students in need of a mentoring relationship.
The sexually exploited women trafficked on the street
Homeless street youth with nowhere else to turn.
Jesus, forgive us for pursuing a peace that doesn’t love as you love. Forgive our isolation & lack of concern for our neighbors. Break our hearts from the idol of a self-centered heart. Forgive us for thinking too highly of ourselves and give us love to share with our brothers & sisters in need.