It is still a bit weird to me that I can speak into my phone and immediately gain answers to questions. Sometimes the answers are dead on and other times – not so much. Yesterday I asked my phone, “What is the opposite of peace?” The answer my phone spoke to me in the Australian accent I chose was simply “WAR”. At first, I thought this was a very incomplete answer but then I started thinking about it and you could make an argument that it is actually quite a comprehensive answer.
When I broaden out the possible ways that “war” could be understood and then apply it to my life it becomes quite insightful and accurate as an antonym. Peace has been absent in my life when a war is raging in one way or another. Here are a few examples of what I mean.
· One war that we may have in common is the opposition of the world and our culture with being a follower of Jesus.
· War could describe the power struggles or misunderstandings with other people.
· It could be circumstances or expenses that are declaring war on my confidence that I have things under control.
· Raging war could describe any force, concern or process that makes my soul anxious.
I could go on and on with this list as you more than likely could as well. It isn’t hard to begin to gain an appreciation for how difficult a true and lasting peace is to come by. This is an area of personal struggle for me. I can remember times of rest and peace, but they always seem to be interrupted.
For instance, I can remember the peace I felt walking with Barb through Hyland-Bush Lakes Park on our 25th wedding anniversary. I was enjoying God’s great gifts of nature and my wife – ahhh, PEACE! Can’t you see it in my face?
But then comes sickness, paying taxes and my tendency to try and control all kinds of things for pretty decent reasons really. I mean it isn’t that I am trying to do evil things – it’s just that I don’t want to live by faith. I want to create my “peace” instead of trusting God’s peace no matter what comes my way. I want every day to be a walk in the park as opposed to an occasional “walk in the dark” believing that God’s light will always be enough. I want the easy peace, instead of the deep lasting peace of God that Paul is talking about.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace I truly crave isn’t something my circumstances or personal preferences can drum up. The peace that lasts and conquers all comes from outside myself. It is a peace that invades my life through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection. This is the lasting peace that will always win out!
Pastor Nick Mundis