In Philippians 4, St. Paul has this to say:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we see that one little word, “peace,” we usually think of an absence of war, that elusive state of affairs between nations when they aren’t trying to blow each other up. It’s the punchline of so many jokes about beauty queens. Imagine a world where people don’t feel it necessary to kill one another for territory or prestige or oil or whatever.
Yeah, I can’t quite picture it either.
Let’s face it, we don’t live in a peaceful world. And really, if we take a close look at what Paul wrote, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. How can a political state guard our hearts?
It can’t, of course, and Paul isn’t talking about that kind of peace. Instead, the peace of God, the one that surpasses all understanding, isn’t something that can exist between nations. Instead, it’s only something that can exist within ourselves. It’s peace of mind, peace of heart, a calmness and restfulness that exists within ourselves.
People long for that peace and they try to find it in a number of different ways and from a variety of different places. They believe that they can find it if they just have enough money (but what happens when the cash runs out?). They think that they can find it in a relationship with that special someone (but what happens if that person lets you down?). They think that it’s something that they have to create within themselves (but what happens when the world overwhelms you and breaks you down?).
Thankfully, for the Christian, we know where that peace comes from. It doesn’t come from stuff or people or even ourselves. Instead, it’s a peace that can only come from God. That’s why Paul says that it’s a peace that surpasses all understanding. It’s peace that overcomes whatever it is we’re experiencing. It’s peace that’s given to us as a free gift, along with our salvation and our faith.
It’s the peace that can only be found in the cross of Christ, in being a forgiven child of God. It’s a peace that protects us no matter how much the world may be crumbling around us, a peace that doesn’t let us go and won’t ever let us down.
No peace? Know peace, in Him.