“Let’s listen to the news and see if peace has broken out anywhere.”
This was a favourite quip of my dad, a cynical survivor of two world wars. I sometimes wanted to say, “Dad, you’re overdoing this thing about peace,” but I didn’t dare.
One school outing I shall always remember was a visit to Parliament in session. I was shocked to hear MPs calling each other names, speaking out of turn and generally behaving in an antagonistic way. I couldn’t help thinking that if this was the way the lawmakers behaved, what could we expect from the population? Weren’t they supposed to be an example? That made a very bad impression on a 13 year-old.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger,” says Proverbs 15:1. But a gentle answer doesn’t always come naturally. We want to give as good (or as bad) as we get.
The Bible tells us that man doesn’t know the way to peace (Isaiah 59:8). The United Nations, established in 1945 was supposed to ensure world peace but since World War II we have had the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf war and the Croatian War. There are even rumours of World War III fomenting in the Middle East right now. Why can’t we find the way to peace? Are we looking in the wrong place?
Peace will have to be imposed as man is totally unable, too foolish and selfish to even know where to begin.
As the prophet Isaiah confirms. “For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end. (Isaiah 9: 6,7).”
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus promised peace to the disciples “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you (John 14:27).” Jesus was not promising peace to the world or the rest of society. It was a special bequest to His own followers. As Christians peace can be ours right now if we look to Jesus.
What causes quarrels and fights among us, asks James, the Lord’s brother (James 4:1). His answer is that when we ask we do not receive because we ask with wrong motives . We don’t ask God (Jesus – the Prince of Peace).
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything but…with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and mines in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:6,7)”
At this point I just have to share that I have a personal favourite worship song which is “Prince of Peace.” I love the interaction between the guys and gals, the harmony, the rhythm and the interplay of words.
It’s a feel good song, and that’s what peace does. It makes you feel good.
One day I will be able to say to my dad, “You see, Dad, peace has finally broken out everywhere. It’s much better than you ever could have dreamed. Shalom!