The older I get the more I desire peace. Anyone who has known me growing up would be rather shocked by that statement. More than I ever thought possible, I long to be able to just go home and live in peace and quiet with my wife and children—to be left alone by the world and the many issues swirling around in our culture.
Unfortunately, there is no peace in our world today. It seems that almost every day we are confronted with more and more apocalyptic, absurd headlines. It seems that the world has lost its mind! For example, there are men who say they are women, as if by declaring such a thing you make yourself one, and somehow such an action is worthy of receiving a courage award. To make things even more insane, anyone who would point out the obvious biological reality—that a man cannot become a woman—would be considered backward, ignorant, and dangerous in our culture!
We have people rioting in cities across the country who seem to care little about the truth of a given circumstance rather they just feel they should be rioting. We have courts saying that two men or two women can constitute a marriage and if you dare disagree, then you are the one who is out of touch with reality. Now there are the “safe places” popping up on college campuses to shield students from the emotional harm they may receive from being exposed to other views on issues (among these are biblical views). All of these actions are symptoms of a culture that is desperately sick.
It would seem so silly and absurd, and yet it is so very real it is hard not mourn. How did up become down? How did good come to be seen as evil? One thing is very clear, the culture war, whatever it was, has been utterly lost. It was inevitable because our culture has embraced secularism and moral relativism. Secularism has spread like the worst kind of cancer and it has infected every part of our society.
This doesn’t even include that for many families there is no peace at home either. The forces of this world attack our children, our spouses, our families, and ourselves leaving behind only ruins, conflict, and death. In this context how can we not cry out for peace? How can we not long for it?
It is good to long for peace, it is a natural desire God has built into us as human beings. We were created to live in God’s presence in peace and at rest with him, yet because of sin that peace is lost. Nonetheless, our desire for peace is ever present.
This desire can quickly become an idol. We can want peace so desperately that we seek it above all else. This can take many forms. We can wrongly seek peace by ignoring that we are indeed in a time of no peace, a time of conflict (Jeremiah 6.14). Ignoring what is going on in our country, in our world, and in our families may give us the appearance of peace for a time—but eventually the truth will rise to the surface. Such a peace is a fake peace, it is not reality. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse in the long run! Ignoring reality will lead to less peace in the end.
We can also wrongly seek peace by seeking compromise and friendship with the world. If the world and the Church disagree, then let us just change to be more hip, to be more in-step with the world—then we will have peace! This also does not lead to peace, it merely leads to us succumbing to the disease of the world and in the process we end up at war with God (James 4.4). We are not called to be at peace with the world, for to do so is to become an enemy of God. So what is the Christian to do? We want peace, yet peace seems impossible.
Jesus cautioned us to expect turmoil with the world, the world has rejected him and therefore it will reject us (John 15.18-25). But that does not mean there is no hope! Peace is not found in the world, for it cannot be, but it is found in Christ.
This is important to remember, especially during Christmas time. God has entered into the story, he came down into the conflict-riddled world to bring us true peace. Into the battle came the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9.6) who is the hope of the world, and he is the guarantee of peace everlasting. Jesus reminds us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16.33).
Here is where the Christian finds comfort in a world that is abundant with conflict and which is often lacking peace. We will have trouble in our families, in our country, in our culture, and in our world, but in Christ—the Prince of Peace—we have an everlasting peace because he has overcome this world! When your heart longs for peace, seek out him who is the source of peace. If you go elsewhere, you will find many things but you will not find peace.
For this reason, I long for the return of Christ and the coming of his Kingdom of peace (Isaiah 2). As the world continues to be turned into what resembles an apocalyptic novel we must remember who we follow. We must remember peace does not come through ignorance, or through withdrawing, or from compromise. Peace comes from the Prince of Peace who secured victory because of who he is and what he has done. Take heart Christian, Jesus has overcome the world and he is your peace! Remember that this Christmas, the Prince of Peace has come and he is victorious!