Peace in non-peaceful times

bible reading

As I scroll through social media or overhear conversations between people, I’m overwhelmed with the heaviness people are carrying in 2020. People are anxious, burnt out, exhausted, worried for sick loved ones, uncertain about the future, confused—our world is marked by a lack of peace. If I honestly examine my own thought life during this chaotic year, much of it has been characterized by a lack of peace, too.

Wanting to grasp God’s peace during these uncertain times, I recently began searching the scriptures. I came across one of the names of Jesus, as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, that struck me:

 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (ESV)

Prince of Peace, or in the original Hebrew, ‘sar shalom‘.  It sounds so beautiful and soothing, right?

As I skimmed through the scriptures using the word shalom, I started to get a greater understanding of Jesus as my Prince of Peace. I saw that Biblical peace means so much more than my understanding of the word in English. It includes meanings like wholeness, rest, soundness, tranquility, lack of worry, the absence of agitation. Qualities our world is desperately in need of right now. Qualities I desire in the deepest parts of my heart. I so want to be a woman who truly knows Jesus as her Prince of Peace and who walks in peace—knowing securely her identity in Christ. 

In Judges 6:24, Gideon builds an altar for God and calls Him ‘Yahweh-Shalom‘, or the ‘Lord our Peace.’ I love this because it sets the stage for hundreds and hundreds of years later when Jesus appears in the story. The concept of peace is repeated all throughout the Bible. I particularly love reading through all the verses in Psalms and Proverbs. I often tell people I’m a forever Psalms girl, as I find myself drawn to the Psalms continually—as a writer, I just love the poetry and flowy words—it makes my heart sing.

The very day Jesus, this prophesied Prince of Peace, was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds. We see the heavenly host praising God with, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14 ESV). Again, that word ‘peace,’ this time at the announcement of Jesus’ birth. 

But the real reason Jesus is described as our Prince of Peace is not because of the manger. His death and resurrection are the foundation on which we can call Him our Prince of Peace. Just as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 53:5: 

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (ESV)

How can this be? This verse tells us He was crushed for our sin—that violent, non-peaceful death he endured was for our peace. So Jesus himself is our Prince of Peace. Our well-being, our peace, rests squarely on His shoulders.

Peace is not simply a character trait of Jesus, it is part of who He is. He IS peace. He imparts peace.I need this. It has been so easy this year to simply make it through the days. It has seemed like a season of surviving, not thriving, for so many. We’re a people desperate for peace that only Christ can bring.

Peace begins when we encounter Jesus, the one who reconciles us to God through the Cross. When we were far from God, separated because of our sin, he sent the Prince of Peace, as the one who would become our peace offering. He can provide peace in our circumstances. God didn’t promise that life would always be easy, but he did promise peace:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

 And friends, that’s enough. It’s enough to have the peace of God to guard your heart and your mind. It makes no sense in the natural—that’s why the verses above says  peace surpasses all comprehension. What this means is we can face situations and challenges, knowing we are equipped to walk through them. We can take captive anxious thoughts with the promises of scripture. We can take our fears to Jesus, knowing that His peace can guard us. 

Sometimes I struggle with anxious and worrying thoughts, and my mind races at a million miles an hour. It’s so reassuring for me to meditate on the truth of these scriptures. 

I pray as we finish the rest of what has been a difficult year, that we would not only understand that Jesus is our Prince of Peace, but that we would experience and sense His peace. I pray for our hearts and minds to be guarded by His peace. Amen.

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