What is it about humanity that desires peace and longs for conflict? We want our lives to be as peaceful as a mountain lake on a still day; perfectly reflecting the world around us. Yet, business, sports, novels, shows, even the news, must have conflict and challenge to hold our attention. Essentially, we find peace to be boring, beautiful perhaps, but tiring. There is a third element that must be considered to understand the desire for peace. The element of control.
When our lives are filled with anxiety and worry, when there is trouble in the family, when our job is a frustrating mess, we may say we want peace but often we are really desiring control. Peace then is not defined by the absence of conflict but of maintaining some form of control in the conflict. Ever notice that when a child is misbehaving, placed on a chair, and told “sit there until you settle down” that the first thing they do is move the chair? That small adjustment is a demand for control.
Eventually, we come to a conflict we cannot control. It could be health related, or an accident, the failing of the economy, a war we did not want, or some natural event. The conflict may not be directed at us but at a loved one, such as a disease that has no cure, or the foolish choices of a teenager that leads to disaster. In those times our world becomes filled with worry and anxiety. It is in those dark days that we can learn and experience real peace.
Real peace only occurs when we no longer hold or strive for control. To simply let go of control is not the answer. That would be like letting go of a fire hose and letting it spray wherever it wanted. Real peace comes when we turn our desires over to Jesus. Peter wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6–7, NASB95) The conflicts and struggles of life will remain, but we will find real peace and satisfaction because of Jesus’ guiding hand. Instead of trying to control our lives we have a new mandate – to seek first the kingdom of God. I will leave you with one of Jesus’ teaching and challenge you to really read it. You may have heard it a thousand times, but don’t let familiarity blind you to God’s truths.
Jesus taught – “ For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25–34, NASB95)