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Where Peace Can Be Found

Peace is rare commodity these days. Richard Lewis could have spoken for many when he said, "I'm paranoid. On my stationary bike, I have a rearview mirror" (header's Digest, 9/03, p113). We live in a truly stress-filled time. Rebellion is rocking the world. Hostility seems to saturate human society. War rages between nations and sometimes between neighbors and even between husbands and wives. The threat of tornadoes and earthquakes make us nervous and tense. Violence dominates the headlines and pervades the scene on TV and video games. Child abuse and divorce destroy the peace in many hearts and homes. Even the peace of the womb is not beyond the reach of violence for thousands of unborn babies whose lives are snuffed out daily by induced abortion. Anxiety is in the air. Prices at the gas pump and grocery store climb steeply while the stock market falls. The Middle East is like it always has been — in a flux and threatening to come apart at the seems. In these days of unrest and turmoil there is, of course, a lot of talk about peace. As someone said, "Washington, D. C., has a large assortment of peace monuments. They build one after every war." Some preachers promise peace if you will just send in your generous and much-needed contribution. After all, they apparently want you to believe, they can singlehandedly save the world and you are guilty if you don't give them money to do it. Manufacturers and advertisers seek to brainwash us into believing peace can be found in products that range from a can of beer to a tube of toothpaste to a fancy new car with the latest bells and whistles. And the doctor can prescribe pills that bring peace for at least a few hours, although the cost of the pills may be yet another source of stress!

So where can peace be found in this tight-wound, fast-paced, high-pressure, stressed-out place we call life? The answer comes from a man who knew what stress was all about — the apostle Paul. From a prison cell he penned this simple but profound prescription for peace 2,000 years ago — 'Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4, 6-7). The joy and peace Paul speaks of are not grounded in external circumstances. The peace he proffers is in the Lord, and it is procured through prayer! Christian peace is found not in a pill but on a hill — a hill far away where once stood an old rugged cross. The hill was called Calvary and it was the place where Jesus, who "Himself is our peace . . . made peace through the blood of His cross* and by His death reconciled us to God (Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 1:20). The beautiful song "Peace, Perfect Peace" speaks words a worried, stressed-out church and world needs to hear and believe — -Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within. Peace, perfect peace with sorrows surging round? On Jesus' bosom nought but peace is found" (verses 1 and 3 of Peace, Perfect Peace by Edward J. Bickersteth, 1875).

"Plow the God of peace be with you all. Amen." (Romans 15:33)

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ