Floating down a lazy river or the gentle crashing tides on a warm summer evening is about the gist of what most of us would call peaceful. When we think about having peace in our hearts, the thoughts are lovely and all encompassing, like a warm drink on a cold night or wearing a ‘Snuggie’ during a snow storm. Peace is underrated for sure. Jesus was really big on peace, whether leaving it with us or sending people on their way with a huge helping - He included peace as part of His ministry all the time (John 14:27). As we like to point out often, He broke away from His disciples and from the crowds to spend time alone with His Father; one could even say that He broke off to get a PEACE that would spearhead His next move. In our modern day understanding of peace, we often think about a passive, silent and even immovable stance. We claim peaceful protests as we march through streets, with the major emphasis being that because of peace we haven’t burned the city down yet. We take our peace cues from those who have gone before us, proclaiming peace as their choice of weaponry. We also know that those same people, were overcome by way of violence and so as much as we understand the need for peace, we also have this awareness that peace didn’t really bring the change that we hoped it would have. So we tuck that peace back into our understanding as being a tool with a purpose to simply help us through the tough times, giving us a path toward the promises of God, but really not having much else to do with how we are to obtain those promises. And because of this understanding, we miss out on one of the most powerful weapons that the enemy never sees coming.
Mark 4:39 (NKJ)
“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
In one of the many times that Jesus had to help His disciples to understand the ways of His Father’s Kingdom, Jesus is sound asleep in the lower levels of the boat as they traveled to the other side of the sea, and the mighty men whom He is surrounding Himself with (men who were quite familiar with the open seas) are all frantically up top trying to deal with a perfect storm that they have found themselves in the middle of. They aren’t coping too well and they definitely don’t think that the boat is going to survive, so they wake up Jesus who hasn’t a single concern about what is happening. Upon awakening, He immediately stops the storm with a magic wand - NO - with a plead for mercy - NO; Jesus goes straight to the heart of the storm with PEACE. And the raging becomes calm. In the seemingly unfazed way by which Jesus immediately speaks PEACE over the situation, He is revealing to us (future readers) how we are to confront anything that is out of our control. The disciples couldn’t believe that something as unpredictable as the weather, would obey His command. This was/is unheard of. And yet, the big reveal wasn’t that Jesus is the greatest weatherman ever; but that He in fact IS the PEACE that He proclaimed and declared.
Ephesians 2:14 (NASB)
“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”
Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus the Prince of Peace, giving us an additional dose of understanding by way of what we know about kingdoms. As we all have been made well aware thanks to the swarms of media, obsessed with the British Royal Family; when a royal (by way of bloodline) decides to break away from his duties and lay down his title as representative of the crown, it isn’t the farewell party that one might think, it’s sticky and messy and comes at a price. As Harry & Meagan have both discovered the hard way, leaving the heirship of such an established monarch is not easy to do and in fact, will only happen if one is completely committed to leaving. This is an important example for all of us, who are heirs and title holders within God’s Kingdom. See, once we have become title holders ourselves (children of the Most High, Chosen People, Heirs, Righteous etc) breaking away from this position is not as easy as we were once taught - in other words, losing our salvation isn’t as simple as just ‘backsliding’ or ignoring that which has been established in our hearts. So as Jesus (whom we are tied directly to, thanks to His blood and sacrifice) is the Prince of Peace, we can more clearly understand that this specific PEACE is a Kingdom right and a territory within the overall sovereignty. What this TRULY means to us, is that just as Jesus is available to us, PEACE that ensures our completion, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well being (all definitions of God’s peace, shalom) is equally at the ready for us regardless of where we are at.
Philippians 4:4-7 (CEV)
“Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: Be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.”
Throughout the Bible we have story after story of those who have been faced with a challenge aimed at the eviction of their peace - who then find a greater peace (through God) as they let go of that which they know on a natural level, in exchange for a supernatural PEACE led faith filled life full of the miraculous. See, the power of peace transcends our limitations, including our very own highly educated thoughts and ideas. The unmatched peace that we find only through our heavenly Father goes beyond even this, as we are not acting on our own behalf, but on behalf of Him who has called each one of us to give everything over to Him for the completion of that which He set in motion within our hearts. Peace then becomes the gateway to divine provision, it opens the door that leads to our limited understanding and reveals our true heirship to the Kingdom of God - as we give ALL THINGS to the Creator of ALL THINGS and trust Him regardless of the physical ‘realities' staring us down. We begin to learn that peace is not just how we feel in the middle of the storms, peace is at the very center of our response to the storm itself and as a result of that response, peace contains the very same authority through which we are able to stop the raging sea and the wild wind and the steady rains; confident that this same PEACE transcends realms and is indeed the result of us acting upon that which we KNOW.
Isaiah 48:17-22 (GW)
“This is what the Lord, your Defender, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the Lord your God. I teach you what is best for you. I lead you where you should go. If only you had listened to my commands! Your peace would be like a river that never runs dry. Your righteousness would be like waves on the sea. Your descendants would be like sand. Your children would be like its grains. Their names would not be cut off or wiped out in my presence. Leave Babylon; flee from the Babylonians! Shout for joy as you tell it and announce it. Shout it out to the ends of the earth. Say that the Lord has reclaimed his servant Jacob. They weren’t thirsty when he led them through the deserts. He made water flow from a rock for them. He split a rock, and water gushed out. “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.”
Not the most encouraging ‘what if’ scenario from God. In fact, this just might be the absolute worst thing to hear God say to us in our lives. “If only you had listened…you would you would have had peace;” ouch. This scripture resounds within each of our hearts, because somewhere buried deep in there is a still small voice always pushing us to go for it. Seemingly built into who we are is a ‘crazy person’ that reminds us at the most inconvenient moments, to let it go. When we least expect it we get a glimpse of a perspective that looks nothing like our own, revealing just how monumentally unimportant the things of this world truly are, encouraging us to trade in our stress for the release of that which our fingers have a death grip on. Yes, it goes against everything that we know naturally. It leads us to unfamiliar landscapes and it can only be described as naturally uncomfortable to our ‘all knowing’ brain power. But when God’s PEACE shows up, the storm that rages within us, as the outside storms are pounding us all around, are ALL stilled by that which baffles our understanding. We will miss out on this amazing gift if we do not give it ALL over to Him and take upon ourselves that which God offers to us (His PEACE) in exchange for the instability of all else.
Mark 8:8 (NASB) says, “And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces.” These seven baskets full of broken pieces of bread were the left overs to a miracle that Jesus displayed. How much more are the left overs of God’s PEACE as we give Him that which we have in totality and we make way for His miraculous provision in our lives? With just this one example we can see that the rules and requirements we think are standing between us and radical faith, trust, love and peace are in actuality non existent. After all, how can there be left overs from a miracle that started out as lack? Where is the prudence? And finally, the lightbulb. Because completion isn’t a line up of the ducks or a sweet little bow on top; completion is over and abundant to all that we can ask or think. Completion is the PEACE of God at the beginning when all that we have are seven loaves and some fish all the way to the end when we are picking up the pieces that remain after everyone has eaten and seven baskets are filled with the overflow of God’s blessings.
John 14:27 (NOG)
“I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.”
See, God’s peace is not like the passive hippy peace that gives us all grooviness vibes nor is it the cool way that we leave a room - God’s peace is the fulfillment (completion) of all things. His peace is constant, even in the middle of a war because the battle truly does belong to God. As Romans 8:34-39 reveals to us, there isn’t a single thing that can separate us from the love of our Father and PEACE after all, is one of the most outstanding characteristics of LOVE. So even in the middle of difficulties, He gives us the victory. How could this be possible? To answer this, friends, we must accept the PEACE that He has/is/always will offer to us and the joy that it brings. As our greatest example, Jesus revealed to us all the power of this peace. As it must have looked to those who did not understand who He was, the PEACE that He displayed as He was beaten and humiliated looked a lot like defeat. He was marched to His death and He hung high for all to see the physical blows and final moments as He breathed His last breath. The peace that He carried and that carried Him through the entire ordeal before death, looked like a lost cause. But He knew something all along (and we also now KNOW) that only PEACE was able to provide Him with; He knew the TRUTH, thereby He endured unto completion. He knew that this PEACE that ushered Him straight through to God’s plan, would be that which the enemy couldn’t even comprehend. In a world of natural understanding, the peace that blows past this, carries a plan from God that only those who are truly in Him can comprehend; not through our own cleverness, but directly tied to our relationship to Him and that which we KNOW. So as the landscapes before us continue to shift, change, crumble and become desolate - let us all break away from that which we have been clinging to for comfort and stability, and instead find our breakthrough in the PEACE that guards our hearts and minds as we boldly live by faith and not by the things of the world in which we live.