Summary: The peace God offers is superior to what the world offers. God offers inward peace amidst all our problems. A good relationship with God would remove anxiety and mend broken relationships and in turn would help us experience the true peace.
Introduction: All of us desire peace and we prefer to live in a peaceful location. Global peace index is used to rank the peace in various countries. It is calculated by accounting for 22 indicators, which include external and internal conflicts, relationship with neighboring countries, criminality in society and political instability (India ranks 141st among the 163 countries and in recent days we have witnessed a deterioration of peace not only with our neighboring countries but also within the country. So it is our duty to pray for peace in our nation.) A peaceful relationship with our fellow human beings is important and the world at its best can achieve only this. However, the peace God promises to his people is much better than that, because He provides inward everlasting peace.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives... John 14:27
There are many differences between the peace the world offers and the peace God offers. The peace, which the world provides, is dependent on the surroundings, whereas God offers us true peace, in all circumstances. Paul, who was in prison, wrote a letter to the church in the Philippi, which was greatly persecuted. In that letter, Paul addresses the peace of God, as a thing which surpasses all understanding. Yes, according to the world we can have peace only when we are having a peaceful environment but God offers true peace even during difficult times and amidst persecutions. The following story would help us understand the peace God provides.
Ill: Once a king organized a painting competition on the topic ‘peace’ and many great artists participated. Finally, two paintings were chosen. The first one had a beautiful mountain with a calm stream of water flowing over it, and a calm and beautiful blue sky and the birds were flying happily. The second painting also had all the features but they were totally different. The mountains were rugged with sharp edges that would tear off anything that would fall on it. There was water, but it was not flowing smooth, rather you could feel the harsh nature of the very high waterfalls and no living being could survive the force of the falls. The skies were not blue, but they were dark with thunderbolts piercing through them and the rainfall provided a gloomy ambiance. Amidst all these, there was a small nest and inside it, there was a bird protecting its chicks. The chicks were in perfect peace and not worried about the harsh environment. To everyone’s delight, the second painting won the best painting award. The peace God offers is like the second painting. He does not remove the problem rather he makes us walk through the problem. But His peace fills our heart as He is beside us all the time. Let us now look into things that affect our peace.
1. Anxiety: When it comes to the absence of peace, our anxiety is one of the top reasons. We are worried about our future. The young are worried about their studies and job. The middle-aged worry about their children and the old about how their final few years would be. We are worried about the loans we have to pay, job, monthly bills and many more things but we forget that God would meet our need at the right time. To avoid anxiety and to enjoy the peace, which God alone can offer, we have to present our request to God and be thankful for the blessings, which we have received from Him. The assurance that God is in control of our future would help us to be at peace even when we are uncertain about our future.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
2. Problems: Another important thing that removes our peace is the problems which we face. All of us have our own problems or trials. The scripture asks us to face trials with joy as they help us to mature and not lack anything (James 1:2-4). But quite often when we face problems, we are either so focused on our problem and lose peace, or we command God to remove the problem from our life. But the best response is to let God guide us through the trial so that the purpose of the trial could be fulfilled. We see that in the life of people mentioned in the bible. A few examples are Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Joseph. The secret of their success is that they are focused on God and not the problem. Daniel prayed to God three times a day and was not worried about the lions’ den which awaited him. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not worried about the fiery furnace but they were confident that God was able to save them from the furnace. Their eyes were fixed on pleasing God that they even said that even if they were not delivered from the furnace they would not serve the golden image! When Joseph was called by Potiphar’s wife to bed with her, his response was ‘how can I sin against God?’ Similarly, when we have God as our center we can overcome any problem with His strength and we will have peace (remember the chicks in the above story).