Peace. We all want it. Politicians promise it, beauty pageant contestants promote it, and social scientists study it.
Is peace even possible while living in the sin-filled world of compromise, difficult people and selfish agendas? Is peace one of those commodities that you and I will only experience once we reach the glorious gates of heaven?
Peace. Where is it?
Perhaps the disconnect between humanity and that ever elusive treasure known as "peace" is that we have been looking for peace in all the wrong places. We have mistakenly believed that international treaties have the power to guarantee peace, that peace is found on the sun-soaked beaches of Hawaii or that financial success will assuredly deliver peace.
"For He Himself is our peace" (Eph. 2:14).
Jesus Christ is peace personified! There is no peace to be discovered in any location, in any event or in any tangible luxury apart from the person of Jesus.
The devil wants to steal your peace, but Jesus wants you to enjoy His peace and His presence! The enemy wants you to look for peace in all the wrong places. He wants to keep you on a never-ending scavenger hunt that only leads to one frustrating dead end after another.
Jesus has the gift of peace in the midst of every storm, in the center of every battle and in spite of every human disappointment.
I no longer pray for understanding when I am going through a difficult or confusing situation in life because I know that I have been given something infinitely more valuable and eternally more significant than the simple understanding that the human mind is able to deliver.
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7, MEV).
Peace trumps understanding every time! Peace has more power than mental processing or than human comprehension will ever deliver!
I have also learned not to pray for peace. Now, before you label me as a "heretic" of the very worst kind, let me explain this decision with a well-loved and oft-quoted scripture.
"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Is. 26:3).
Peace is the result of trusting the good, good Father. If I don't have peace, it's not because He hasn't given it, but it is because I refuse to trust Him. When my mind is immovably set upon the One who is the Prince of all Peace, nothing will be able to destroy or diminish the peace that I have been given when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior! He has promised never to leave me and never to forsake me, so I know that I am the beneficiary of His ever-present peace. Peace is Who He is!
"Seek peace and pursue it!" (Ps. 34:14).
When you decide to seek peace in every situation in life, you are actually deciding to seek Jesus because He is the One who is our peace in every storm, during every election and while traveling through every season in life. When you seek Jesus, you will find peace. When you look for peace, you will always find Jesus!
I have always wondered why we have religiously declared, "May he rest in peace," after a loved one has died. I believe that God wants His children not just to rest in peace after dying, but He wants us to live in peace this side of eternity!
So today, my challenge is to live in a place of extravagant peace! Enjoy peace! Celebrate His peace and His presence in your life! Peace is the gift of His presence in your life.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.