The Search for Peace
For most of us, the word peace has a certain wistfulness to it, an “if only” quality. This sense of wistfulness arises because we can think of countless things that prevent us from experiencing the peace we desire. We think, “If only I could go on a vacation,” or “If only I could get a better job.” This sense of wistfulness arises because we can think of countless things that prevent us from experiencing the peace we desire.
Each of us can come up with our own list of “if onlys” — of the situations or the people we would like to change so that our lives wouldn’t feel so rushed and anxious and stressful. Such lists, of course, imply that peace is situational. We will experience peace once our troublesome circumstances are resolved, once that difficult person moves on, once we find a new job.
Circumstances do, of course, affect our sense of happiness. There are often countless obstacles to discovering the peace we seek: financial stress, strained relationships, poor physical health, as well as psychological ills like anxiety, phobias, and clinical depression. When our circumstances remain the same and various obstacles appear insurmountable, can we still find the peace God promises? Is it possible to experience peace even in the midst of so much tension and difficulty?
If your experience is anything like mine, finding peace is not a destination as much as it is a journey. Making progress on such a journey toward peace may be hard to measure sometimes. You may even feel as if you are taking one step forward and two steps back. Like life itself, our progress toward peace does not follow a linear path.
But as you base your peace on the character and personhood of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — you will find that in the end, even the least peaceful times in your life will have drawn you closer to the one who is himself our peace. The mystery of how exactly this can happen resides not so much in our own efforts but in God’s grace and in his unswerving desire to deliver on the promise he has made.