What does it take to have peace in today’s world? I know a lot of people search for peace, but does anyone really find it? How would you even define peace?
The first definition in the dictionary refers to a “the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.” Well–that’s good. But I’m talking about having peace in your own mind. Oddly enough, that definition doesn’t pop up until number six on the list: “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.”
And because I’m a word nerd, I can’t help but post the etymology of the word peace. It was first used in the year 1140 to mean “freedom from civil disorder,” but it wasn’t used to mean peace of mind until c.1200.
But knowing what peace is doesn’t help us know how to find it. And I’m pretty sure that everyone wants it. We elect officials hoping for peace. We buy things, hoping they will bring us peace. We go on vacations looking for peace. We read books and change our lifestyles, expecting that peace will come with it. We do unto others as they would have us do unto them, and expect peace in return. But do we get it?
Because peace doesn’t come from action. Peace comes from trust.
If you think your actions will bring you peace, where do you draw the line? There is always work to do. You’ll never be able to work hard enough to finish everything that needs to be done or to make yourself perfect.
So what about trust? If you rely on trust to bring you peace, you’d better make sure you’re putting your trust in the right things. You can trust books, but how do you know they’re telling you right? And what happens when they’re wrong?
And I guess you can trust the elected officials since they’re there because God has ordained that they be there . . . but should you really trust a politician? When you peel away the layers of smiles and policy, a politician is a regular man or woman, just like us; so there’s no reason to trust a politician more than anyone else.
Do we trust our friends to bring us peace? Maybe. But our friends let us down, and if they haven’t let you down yet, they will eventually. What will happen to your peace when that happens?
And what about ourselves? Surely if anyone could bring us peace, it would be ourselves? But if that’s the case, why can’t we find peace on vacations? You escape your job, your family, the world, your life and go to some remote location and even then you can’t sleep. If you can’t even trust yourself to find your own peace, what do you do?
Today’s verse is Psalm 119:165.
165 Those who love your instructions have great peace
and do not stumble.
If you want peace, you need to love God’s Word.
In all my life, those are the only people I have ever encountered who are truly at peace. And I’m not talking about the serene sort of zoned-out incapacity to feel–like they’re walking around in a trance. That’s not peace. True peace comes in the midst of adversity. When everything is falling apart around you and you’re still able to function and believe that things will turn out all right in the end.
That’s peace. It’s something you can’t buy or earn. The only way you can get that kind of peace is by trusting that God knows what He’s doing.
God gave us the Bible so that we can know Him and understand His thoughts. And those of us who trust Him understand His ways (not all of them; but we get the point that He is in control and is working everything out for our good). And once you wrap your head around the fact that you can trust God with everything, it doesn’t matter what you go through in life, you have peace. And not just peace–great peace.
And beyond that, loving God’s word and keeping His instructions will prevent you from doing something that will hurt you or the people around you. And that only adds to the depth of the peace you experience when you’re walking with Him.
Wouldn’t you agree that hurting yourself or others is often the source of greatest disharmony in your own mind? Regret? Or sadness? Or bitterness? Those are the voices that are the loudest when you’re seeking peace.
So stop going on vacations or working to make yourself feel better. Stop doing everything you’re doing in hopes to make your worries disappear. It won’t work.
If you want peace, stop seeking it and start trusting God. Read the Bible, make an effort to understand what’s written there, and keep His commandments. Experiencing great peace is inevitable if you trust that God knows what He’s doing