Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Peace of God

"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

These were the very words that Jesus spoke of before that fateful night of His betrayal. He knew that His time was near, and instead of being filled with fear and panic, He took the opportunity to speak words of comfort to His disciples.

Jesus spoke of the peace of God. He made it clear that this peace is different from the peace that the world gives. This made me think. What kind of peace does the world gives anyway? Not much at first thought. But suddenly, when you do take time to think more about it, there seems to be alot. From relationships to finances, to governments and political systems, and even institutions and social structures, we see how all these systems that were established for years seemed so secure in its foundation. For example, the current generation in Malaysia has no concept of how devestating war could be except from the images that the media carries. We carry this sense of security that allows us to sleep at night knowing that when we wake up tomorrow, things will remain the same as it is yesterday. We call "this" peace. But is it? As history has shown for centuries, peace in a country never lasts, no matter how strong or secure the government is. From the grandeur of Rome's government, what's left of it is only its name and some ruins. So, if a government, regardless of its size and strength, can be so fragile, what more of the systems that it tries to protects. From financial to educational institutions, all these will fall when the government crumbles.

However, it is in instances like these that Jesus mentions we can still have the peace of God. This is because no one is greater than God. He is a sure foundation. No one can move Him. And the strength and security of God, if we choose, can become our peace. For Christians, the peace of God has become something that's mundane for us because we've heard of it so many times. But until we treasure it in our hearts, it will remain just a "good idea". This peace was never meant to be just a good idea, or an option / alternative for Christian to hang on to during troubling times. Rather, it was meant to keep us steady, with our eyes fixed on Him, and our hearts and minds still filled with His purposes and will regardless of what's going on in our surrounding. It was this peace that Christ died on the cross so that by His sacrifice, it is something that we can have.

I guess the opposite of the peace of God, would be the wrath of God. Spending a week listening to John Piper preaching on this topic has opened up my eyes to another side of God - God is not only love, He is also just. And oh the price that Christ paid so that we can stand justified in the sight of God, if we only knew what it cost, we would change the way we live.

May we not treat the peace of God lightly. It's given to us so that in calm and stormy times our lives, this peace will remain our anchor that keeps us close to God.

"Lord, I thank you for this peace. I thank you that in my wretchedness, you've found favor in me thru Your Son Jesus. But may I be continually changed, and may Your peace that surpasses all understanding, keep and guard my heart in Christ Jesus. Amen."

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