What does “peace” mean to you? Generally, peace is the absence of any conflict or chaos. On a personal level, it may mean many things: Peace may mean paying off this month's credit card bill or finishing that report for work or having all those many ducks in a row. Peace may be arriving home after fighting rush hour traffic or not fighting with your spouse or children for at least one night. Peace may be not hearing gunfire after dark or having a whole night uninterrupted by a phone call of some bad news. Peace may mean a good report from the Doctor or lab. Peace is something that we all desire for ourselves and should desire for others. I think peace mostly comes from acceptance about things which we cannot control or change.
Many things in your life boil down to the hand with which you have been dealt. You can't change the fact that you were born in a certain place and time, with certain givens for your appearance, IQ, or physical skills. Education and training can open some doors for you, but they cannot change your past, make you taller or skinnier or athletic, or alter the fact that some people are unfair in the way they treat you. Despite the fact that most of our life circumstances are beyond our control, we are all still tempted to fret and complain about things that cannot be changed—which steals our peace. Of course, unfortunate circumstances cause distress and these realizations may also steal your peace of mind.
So what about peace with God? Spiritual peace. For some that idea may seem distant and far away, an unknown concept. Maybe we've never really tried to establish a personal relationship with God or maybe some of us used to feel good about our relationship with God but now we're filled with doubt. Maybe we don't have the feeling we used to have previously, or sin has gotten in the way. You know that kind of sin: the big kind of sin that leaves us feeling guilty—maybe for years. Or maybe it's just a general disenchantment with God and His world and being disappointed by Him time and again. Or perhaps we've grown a bit cold—not turning our backs—but just drifting away from Him.
All or any of these things may steal our peace. I suggest that to overcome those kinds of feelings, we might try to take the focus off ourselves and turn outward to Godly work that needs to be done. That is acceptance. We need to recognize that we aren't trying to earn our own salvation but should focus on Jesus and what He has done for us as the example for our own “acts” as apostles. Peace with God comes through trusting in Jesus, trusting in His love and His care for us, and working for the Kingdom. That may lead to our personal peace in our lives’ circumstances. When our faith led us to baptism, we entered into a relationship with God that will provide us with the peace that God can give. It's not about us… it's about Jesus and what He did for us.
If you don't feel at peace with God, you may still be focused on yourself. There is plenty to do, there are many missions—and work is a blessing—that can bring you peace. Step away from you and turn toward others in this field of souls. Through what you do you might be the reason that others receive some peace here on earth. When a given day begins, countless things are headed your way over which you have no control. It may be bad weather, someone's bad temper, a deadline that won't budge or a client equally resistant to change. The one factor you can control through it all is your attitude toward them. Your attitude today will make all the difference in everything that matters. Jesus is there in the lives and faces of those around you as you do what He would do. It's time to trust in Him and His power to save. Accepting our circumstances may help us to help others—and bring true peace. Peace be with you!
Just a Note:
A good prayer for an attitude adjustment—John Baillie's “A Diary of Private Prayer”...
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.