If you even so much as glance at the news headlines, you may find yourself convinced that peace is nowhere to be found. From the inhumane acts of terror the hands of ISIS to the tension between Russia and Ukraine walking the tightrope of war. Then there’s the never-ending fighting between Israel and Palestine and the disturbing rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria. It seems that the world has gone mad. When it seems the peace has disappeared, what do we do? How do we make it return?
Being President, Prime Minister, or any other position of such authority in a time such as this cannot be easy. These are the people who have to make the tough decisions. Decisions that cost money, resources, and lives. These are the people who prepare every word that comes from their mouths to try and maintain some sense of control over the chaos that ensues. These are the people who we rely on to find and restore peace.
But how? How do we achieve peace in our world?
Perhaps through dialogue. Everyone will sit down together and talk until there is a solution. But what happens if those inflicting terror and harm have no desire to talk? Not only that, but what if they don’t care what you say? What if, even when using the strongest language possible, they still resort to only more killing?
Maybe world peace can be achieved by humanitarian aid. We can work as one towards a common good to battle things like hunger, disease, and poverty rather than fighting one another. But what happens when even those who are working as humanitarians are kidnapped and killed? What happens when some have decided that not all people are worthy of basic things like food, water, or even life?
Peace might be found if we rely more heavily on strict sanctions. If we cut off outside assistance and force the parties to talk things over. But what if the sanctions don’t work? What if instead it only hurts the civilians and brings more pain and suffering? Maybe that is not the way to achieve peace.
Can peace be achieved through war? If the cause is just and war is necessary, will that bring peace to our world? Even if a war manages to stop one atrocity, will it only fuel the anger and resentment that leads to the next? And if there is a war, who will be called upon to fight? Will it be left to one country to lead the way? Or will everyone work together? Who are we even fighting?
It seems as though there is no solution. It seems as though peace simply cannot be found.
Perhaps that is because it never left.
I am not a world leader. I do not know if talks or aid or sanctions or war will help. But when it comes to finding peace for our world, the first step is to realize it has not gone away. True peace comes from Christ, and He has never left us. As dire as things may seem, peace is not altogether gone as long as God is still with us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27
We look around the world and think that peace has gone, but that is because we are looking for peace in all the wrong places. Peace is not something we can achieve. Peace is a gift from God. Peace is something that is in our hearts from the Holy Spirit. The Lord gives us His peace, and it is not as the world gives. His peace does not promise that there will be no pain and suffering here on earth. But it does promise that through His ultimate grace and love we will have peace and joy beyond our comprehension with Him in Heaven. His peace calls us to trust in Him alone. To keep from fear by filling our hearts with His love and His peace until they become so full that they overflow; spreading that true love and true peace throughout the world.
There is a lot of sin in this world. A lot of pain and suffering. There are things happening all over the world that I cannot even begin to imagine. We can watch the news and feel overcome with despair. We can read the headlines and allow our hearts to be troubled by the atrocities happening. We can feel like all hope is gone, like peace has disappeared, like there is nothing we can do to make it better. But that is not true.
We can pray. When we feel like peace is gone, we can find it again within our hearts through Jesus Christ.
And so today I pray. I pray for all those suffering in wars and conflicts that are splashed across the news and in the ones that don’t make the front pages. I pray for our world leaders as they are faced with the monumental task of finding a way to stop all the pain and horror. And I pray for those whose hearts have been overtaken by sin and who commit such terrifying acts. I may not know how to end wars, how to alleviate the world’s suffering, how to stop people from hurting and killing one another. But I know the way to peace is through Christ.
Let us all come together in prayer that the true and lasting peace of Christ will come to the hearts of all. To heal those in pain, to comfort those surrounded by sorrow, to guide those in positions of authority, and to lead those in darkness into the light.