With the national stage in turmoil, peace in America is as elusive as it has ever been. And the looming elections and a possible coronavirus resurgence in the fall tell us there is no end in sight. If you are looking for peace, the America of today is not the place to be.
But the peace of which I write has little to do with the circumstances that surround us. There will always be reasons to advocate for change, always elements of injustice in our society. We will never be at peace with our lifestyle, however, until we are at peace with ourselves.
Matthew Kelly, an active Christian, highlights the issue this way.
“While at breakfast with a friend of a friend, the gentleman said, ‘There is something different about you, Matthew. I don’t know what it is, but it is special and rare. You make me ponder life. I will tell you this. … I am a very wealthy man. I have more houses than ten families could live in, more boats and cars than I could ever use, more money than I could ever spend. Everywhere I go I am treated like royalty… but I have no peace. Peace … and the funny thing is, I would give everything I have, the things I have spent my whole life building, for just a little peace’” (The Rhythm of Life, p. 186).
Though not typical, this gentleman was right. Comfortable circumstances, security, and good health do not, in themselves, bring peace of mind. Peace is not in something we have or do; lasting, satisfying peace of heart and mind is found in who we are.
The problem is that, whatever our religious convictions, and regardless of our philosophical point of view, we must face the fact of our mortality. We know our death is only a matter of time, and we must each find a way to deal with it. We can act as if we are going to live forever; we can tell ourselves there is no such thing as an afterlife. But that is a gamble many of us are not willing to take.
Some people look for reassurance in their faith. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “I believe in God.” So? Almost everyone believes in God. The Bible says, “You believe there is one God? You do well! The devils also believe, and tremble.” Believing the truth, even about God, means little unless it impacts our surrender to His will.
The challenge, then, is to establish a right relationship with God that provides the peace of mind our heart demands. Multiple voices, all claiming to be the way of truth, call for our allegiance. But I have found support for my faith in one undeniable truth: Jesus died, was buried, and three days later, arose from the dead. That is the basis for my faith. “If in this life only we have hope,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead.”
Despite a nation in conflict, despite the continuing threat of the coronavirus, peace of heart and mind is available to all. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
You want to talk about it? Hit me up at [email protected]