- Ken Smith
Peace in a Violent World
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
As we struggle living in today’s world, a world with wars, divisiveness, riots, pandemics,
hunger, racism, political upheaval (the list is seemingly endless), we often find ourselves in a sort of self-loathing, fear and anxiety that often then brings despair, isolation, and hopelessness. As Christians, we learn that we can find peace in the Glory of God. We are told that it is a peace, “that surpasses all understanding.” We are taught that it is a peace that knows no bounds and clears all hurdles. Knowing this is wonderfully comforting. Though finding that peace, at least for me, can be a challenge. It is not always easy to step back from the demands of life and come into the presence of God. After all, the pressures we face seem to always be there ready to ruin our day. How do I find God’s tranquility when every cashier’s line at HEB has 10 people in it, and, oh by the way, I had to park my car in Timbuktu? Where is God’s peace when someone cuts me off on the freeway, and then the guy behind me honks as if it was my fault for braking? How can I find the patience I need when the kids are incessantly screaming, the dinner is not cooked yet, the weeds have taken over the garden, and, gosh almighty, how long am I going to have to wear this hot, smelly mask? Will this pandemic ever end?
It is easy for us to lose sight of God in these moments. It is so easy to be afraid. We
forget that His peace and His tranquility, and His love are right there with us through all the
turmoil. God speaks promises of hope and comfort over our circumstances. We learn this, we
read this, we know this! So, why is it so hard to feel the peace of Jesus Christ within the
turbulence of our lives?
In Jesus’ final hours on earth, His disciples are truly troubled by the scenario Jesus has
laid out for them. His betrayal, His capture, and His death are eminent. These obedient
followers are confused, distraught, fearful, and angry. Some of the same feelings that I find
myself facing in this world today. But Jesus tells His disciples, “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) What heartening words. In Him we have peace; not “find” peace but “have” peace. The answer to our troubles is already within us. We have accepted Christ, we are the sheep of His pasture, and we are believers. Therefore, we have His gift of peace. This knowledge gives me great comfort. I am armed with the shield that is Jesus Christ. I can take on anything!
But when you find yourself toiling against the turmoils of life, there are some practical
things you can do to renew the peace that is Christ in you. One of the best things you can do is to find a quiet place to pray and read Scripture. This may seem like a trite answer, but it really works. Do not be afraid to talk to God --- whenever, wherever. Take a meditative moment to reflect on the positive things in your life. You will probably find the good far outweighs the bad. Take a hike and rediscover His majesty through nature. Find a comfortable chair and listen to encouraging worship music or read a good book. Or, just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax for a minute or two.
God wants you to have a life lived to the fullest and that includes being at peace. At the
Last Supper, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as
the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) The
peace that God gives us when we come to Him with humility, faith, and trust will surely protect us from the struggles of life. This is the blessing and peace He gives to you through Jesus Christ.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 15:13)