Peace is Not the Absence of Trouble

What is peace? We hear people talk about wanting world peace or peace of mind. Some people use “peace” as a way of wishing others well at the end of a conversation or email. But what exactly is peace? Is it tranquility? Is it the absence of conflict or war? Is it mind-numbing silence? Or maybe a sense of security?

Are any of these really peace? If so, there’s a problem because this kind of peace will never last.

Peace based on a feeling or the absence of something else will be gone like the wind. Why? Because peace can’t sustain itself. And because human nature inclines us to hurt feelings and conflict. So we see the disintegration of peace over and over again in marriages, in families, among friends, among nations. It’s a cycle. Peace. Disintegration of peace. No peace (i.e. conflict). Build up of peace. Peace…

Our hearts long for peace, as elusive as it may seem. Unfortunately, temporary peace isn’t really peace. It’s just the current absence of trouble. But if peace as we know it isn’t really peace, then what is peace? What is true, unchanging, never-fleeting peace?

Peace isn’t the absence of trouble. Peace is the presence of God.

God is peace, Jehovah-shalom. His very essence is peace. A peace that transcends all understanding, meaning we can’t comprehend the fullness of true peace because it’s not something that can be created or purchased. Outside of God we can never experience true peace on our own. God is peace. Peace is the presence of God.

As we seek to find peace in our life, there’s another important truth to remember: Fear and peace cannot co-exist.

If there is any agitation in our heart––any fear, concern, anxiety, distress, anger, bitterness––then we do not have peace.

Finding peace doesn’t mean escaping to the nearest Zen garden for an hour of aromatherapy and stillness. Finding peace means finding God. Seeking Him. Sitting in His presence. Reading Scripture so God can speak peace into our heart, mind and soul through His words. God’s power is in His peace. He alone can take away all fear.

Finding peace also means trusting God. Because of who He is. He is God. And because of His character. He is trustworthy. He is peace. Trusting God is the only way to find peace. “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

There are many reasons to want peace. And there are many stressful circumstances we wish we could escape. But knowing that we have to live through our current situation before we can get to the next, we have to find peace in our circumstances. This is one way we rise above real life.

There is only one peace that never changes and never goes away. The peace found in the presence of God. The peace that is God’s presence in us. When we’re afraid, we can trust in Him. When we’re anxious or concerned or stressed or frustrated or angry or bitter, we can come to Him and pour it all out. Then He will fill us to overflowing with His peace. We may have to come to Him moment by moment or day by day depending on our circumstances. And that’s okay. Jesus says, “Come.” He wants to give Himself to us. He wants to pour His peace into us. He wants us to remain in His presence. Starting today.

No one can have lasting peace without God. Peace is the presence of God.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

May I pray?

Jesus, so much of our daily life is lived in the absence of peace. We live in a swirl of busyness and stress, and often have days when we struggle with fears and the anxiety they cause. Thank You for Your promise of peace if we will come to You and lay our burdens down. Please help us, Lord, to make the time today to seek You. To sit with You and let go of everything that weighs us down so You can fill us with Your peace. Amen.

Q4U: Will you come into the presence of God today and ask Him to fill you with His peace as you pour out your fears, anxiety and stress?

 

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2 thoughts on “Peace is Not the Absence of Trouble

  1. I’ve never really understood what Jesus meant when He said, “I didn’t come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)…that is until today when I read your blog “Peace isn’t the absence of trouble. Peace is the presence of God.”
    Thank you for clarifying a scripture that has baffled me for too long!!

    • That’s very cool – Jesus isn’t bringing peace as we think of peace (absence of trouble), He’s bringing the power and presence of God. Makes me envision a sword cutting through or disabling the conflicts of life so peace can reign. Thanks for bringing up Matthew 10:34. You helped unlock this Scripture for me too!

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