The world talks a lot about peace. We hear it all the time during presidential campaigns and beauty pageants and everything in between. Peace among different factions in our country such as liberals and conservatives. Peace between nations like North and South Korea or India and Pakistan. World peace is the sought after ideal. Occasionally, and usually around the Christmas season, worldly people will even quote from Luke 2:14b: “on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” This they say, while at the same time living in hatred against their neighbors with whom they disagree. This verse is even wrongly interpreted to mean a tolerance for all perspectives, no matter how unbiblical or immoral they are.
God too speaks of peace, but His peace is far different from anything the world can offer. ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Earlier in this passage, Jesus talks about the “many mansions” (verse 2) that God has prepared for His saints in Heaven. This entire chapter is about the the “comforter”(verse 26), the Holy Spirit that “…beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: and if children then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs of Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16b, 17). In other words, God sent the Holy Spirit to confirm our faith and assure us that we are His children no matter what happens to us.
This peace is the is true peace, the treasure of our souls. This peace comforts us not only in times of joy but in times of sorrow as well. Recently my grandma on my Dad’s side passed away after having dementia for a number of years. It was difficult seeing her deteriorate physically and mentally. At the end of her life she couldn’t communicate with us at all. Nevertheless we had peace as she was dying because she was a child of God. Most importantly, even though she couldn’t express it, she too had peace with God. We grieved, we shed our tears but, as Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 4:13, “we sorrow not even as others which have no hope.” In other words, though we mourn the passing of our loved ones as the world does, we do not mourn in the same way that the world mourns. The chief difference is that we know that our loved ones aren’t merely going to a “better place,” but to Heaven which is the best place they can possibly be. This peace gives us the hope and comfort in God that we seek in this life. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” When we, by God’s grace, come to Him and place our confidence in Him, we have that “peace of God which passeth all understanding.” May God grant us this peace!