“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6
We have been celebrating the birth of a baby who is also known as the Prince of Peace. What a title. Sort of insinuates that this prince is the one who offers this commodity, this gift, this salve on life’s brutalities. What an offering. What if it were true? What if we could count on peace during this wild and crazy blink of an eye life before all of forever. Peace can seem fleeting can’t it? According to the ADAA:
“Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of the population).”
This tug of war with anxiety and living at rest in a world that gives to us so unexpectedly, with such high demands, and without predictability can be wearing can’t it? We ache for peace when there are realities we cannot explain or deny. When we suffer unsettledness, discontentment, distant awareness of the fact that somehow we miss the mark. When injustice and pain rage forward and we watch in horror as beauty is brutally slain, and innocence is violently trespassed upon. And in the midst of this anxiety inducing reality, our Prince of Peace also offers his promises in hope that we hear the faintest whisper of his voice.
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
The reason we can expect peace from God is because he has the authority to offer it; and because he loves us. He is the same creator who imagined the ocean’s depths and who spoke and the mountains came into being. He is the one to whom our greatest enemy must go before and present himself; and this is the one to whom the angels declare “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come!” And he desperately loves us. Enough to save us. You guys — God will not allow a lesser offering of peace to do the trick for us longterm; because anything other than himself is quite simply counterfeit. In a world full of brokenness and scandal, we hold no guaranteed from any of the temporary fixes we sometimes desperately cling to in an effort to wrestle peace into our chaos. He offers true hope in a world where there are many false guarantees. And because of that, we can rest in Him.
Receiving this peace does not typically mean that suddenly our situation is resolved. God’s gifts are eternally satisfying; he is not interested in a temporary solution. In so many cases we are still grieving, battling, opposing injustice; but we can do so with a sovereign promise of our hearts being guarded against that which causes us to question, that which growls and roars and threatens to pull our anchor. This offering is dependable because the giver is dependable. When you observe a mature Christ follower, what you will see is that peace is not circumstantial. It is not subject to influence. This kind of peace requires interaction with the one who offers it. It is powerful, and it has been promised — not for limited seasons, but for all time.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7