Last Memorial Weekend, My family and I attended Word International Ministries in San Diego (WIN San Diego) under the very capable leadership of Pastor Al Estanislao. He gave a message on the Peace of God. It really ministered to me. Let me share it with you.
During the offering time, the emcee shared about how a Filipino Pastor in the Philippines rides a tricycle and goes to a local cemetery to conduct a worship service. That’s quite a weird statement! What does he do? Rouse the dead and tell them to clap their hands and sing? No. Apparently in that community, a lot of homeless people live there and they find a way to worship God even in the direst of circumstances.
Today in our nice churches with plush seats and air conditioning, people can hardly pay attention to the worship as they fiddle with their smartphones even during worship service. And yet, they seemingly don’t have the peace of God as much as those poor people in the cemetery, who worshipped God with all their might.
Do we really understand what the “Peace of God” is? All throughout the New Testament, we see peace being proclaimed by Angels as well as Jesus Himself.
What is this thing called “Peace?”
The world defines it a number of ways:
1. Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility; a mental calm or serenity
2. Freedom from or the cessation of war or violence, support for a negotiated peace.
• Freedom from civil disorder; Freedom from dispute or dissension between individuals or groups
3. Free from anxiety or distress; Dead (used to suggest that someone has escaped from the difficulties of life);in a state of friendliness: a man at peace with the world.
Based on these definitions, who wouldn’t want peace?
Now if the world’s definition of peace already sounds really good, how much more the peace that God gives? What is this peace?
Let’s look at an example: Luke 24:36: Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”
The disciples have just been through a harrowing experience. They have been with Jesus for 3 years and then He was betrayed, crucified and buried. The disciples forgot His words that “He would rise again.”
When faced with exceedingly great pressure, their faith gave way and they were in a state of panic, fear and disorder. They really needed peace. The Risen Lord stood among them and simply said “Peace be with you.”
The nature of God’s peace is not about being in a rose garden or being free from life’s difficulties. It’s not even about running away or abandoning the world’s difficulties. The kind of peace that God offers is His presence that allows us to go through any difficulty with the assurance that we are not alone.
When troubles come, doubts also abound and cut deep into our confidence and cause one disorder after another. Watch and observe how a lack of peace tears into marriages and family relationships and shatters even our relationship with God.
A sick person would say, “Lord, how can I get through this? What about my family? What will happen to my future?” You can choose to worry or have anxiety or you can choose to trust God.
The nature of God’s peace cannot be experienced in our self-sufficiency but can be enjoyed in a state of child-like dependence on God just as a baby depends upon his or her parents.
The God kind of peace trusts Him for everything. Jesus told Thomas: “Stop doubting and believe!”
Here’s the most important takeaway from this article: it is not the absence or presence of problems that determine peace of mind. It is the presence of god in our lives.
The T-shirt says it all: “NO GOD. NO PEACE. KNOW GOD, KNOW PEACE.
If you don’t have God or have neglected God in your life, notice that you don’t have lasting peace. But if you have a vital relationship with God, you will have peace like a river.
Imagine the homeless people in that cemetery singing, “I’ve got peace like a river.”
Why? Because they’ve encountered The Prince of Peace.
Pastor Chito Cordero is Senior Pastor of Word International Ministries in Los Angeles located or WIN LA at 530 Benton Way in LA CA 90057. For comments, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. or wordinternational.com.