People often give this answer when asked what to pray for—world peace. There is so much conflict in the world that peace from conflict is greatly desired. Then there is peace from the constant attack from pesky marketers that seem to not want to give us a moments peace. Add to this the stress of human relationships and people seek that Calgon moment when they can escape the world in a soothing bath or solitude in the woods. To most people, peace is the ceasing of conflict but is there a deeper meaning to peace?
The answer is yes, and that peace is peace with GOD. Most of the stress in our lives comes from the rejection of GOD and going our own way in life. GOD has a way to live our life that will bring inner peace, but we want to go our own way which will always bring resistance and stress in life as one walking upstream against the current of the river. It is when we stop resisting GOD and accept His ways that we can experience a deep inner peace that will overcome the stress in our life.
Isaiah gives us wise counsel in Isaiah 26:3, 4 NLT: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. We will experience a perfect and complete peace if we keep our thoughts fixed on GOD and not thinking about the messages that the world is sending to us. Our thoughts will lead to behavior and behavior produces consequences. If our thoughts are on the things of GOD, then our behavior will produce positive consequences, thus reducing stress. But if we focus our thoughts on the things of the world, then our behavior will produce negative consequence, thus increasing stress.
The key issue is who you trust—GOD or the world. GOD is our constant Rock in the midst of the winds and storms of life. We can count on GOD being there for us, thus producing peace in our hearts. Jesus illustrated this peace in the incident with His disciples as they were crossing the Sea of Galilee, Mark 4:35-41. Jesus was asleep in the boat as a great storm arose that threatened to overwhelm the boat. Jesus could sleep because He had complete trust in His Father. The disciples on the other hand did not have this level of trust and they ran around yelling that they will perish. Jesus awoke and simply spoke to the storm, be still, and the storm immediately calmed. I think that Jesus then probably went back to sleep.
The point of the experience is that we can trust GOD in every circumstance of our life, so we do not have to worry about what is happening to us and around us for GOD is in control. We can experience great peace from the knowledge that GOD is in control of our circumstances. We often lose our peace with others because we are worried about what is happening. But when we trust GOD, we can then walk in the manner that the apostle Paul suggests in Romans 12:18 NASB: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.
When our focus is on GOD and we are trusting Him will our lives, then we can be at peace with others for our fate does not depend on them. In other words, we are free to love others as our dependence on them is lessened and our trust in GOD is increased. Experiencing this peace with others can seem like a mystery or the impossible dream but in GOD it is possible, for peace is the expression of GOD’s love. And while this peace may seem elusive, we can nevertheless believe in the words of Paul, Philippians 4:7 NKJV: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.