How You Can Bring Peace to a Restless World
John Andrews, foreign correspondent for The Economist, wrote a poignant dedication in his book, The World in Conflict: “To Mika and Sam [his kids], in the vain hope that they will grow up in a world without conflict.”
The hope for a conflict-free world may seem vain, yet God’s Word does promise true peace for the present, as well as for the future. The question is, how do we grab hold of it? I think we begin by understanding what true peace is and why it’s missing from our world.
The Missing Peace
During one of our New York outreaches, we had a big poster that asked, “What Are You For?” As I stood, encouraging people to post their answers via the blank sticky notes we provided, one woman wrote, “world peace.” When I asked what she thought that might look like, she replied that it would mean no more wars. That gave me the opportunity to discuss with her what peace is, and where it can be found.
Peace is not merely an absence of conflict. The Hebrew word shalom conveys the idea of complete, sound, wholeness of life, harmony, right relationship. Ultimately, these things come only from the Creator of all things. Our Maker. As believers in Jesus, we know that intellectually, but do we know it deep in our hearts?
One of the biggest Jewish objections to our claims that Jesus is the Messiah is: “When the Messiah comes there will be world peace. Since there isn’t peace, Jesus can’t be the Messiah.” Maybe you’ve heard something similar from people who aren’t Jewish, but don’t see much evidence of the Savior having come. How would you answer them? If you haven’t already, try the following:
In order to have world peace, first we need peace between the parties where it was originally broken. The story of shattered peace began long before nations started to war against one another. In Genesis 3, we see how people became alienated from God and one another. It happened when Eve and Adam made a grab for what belonged to God, trying to gain wisdom apart from their Maker, wanting to become masters of their own destiny. In one act of distrust and disobedience they, and subsequently we, tore themselves away from the only true Giver of life.
The Psalmist cries out, “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). Yet there’s not a person alive who doesn’t think, say and do things that show we do not know that God is God. We continually try to take His place in our attempts at sovereignty. It’s spiritual insanity.
In breaking our peace with God, we became broken. Because we are broken, we lack peace within ourselves… and so we are incapable of making lasting peace with one another.
The Prince of Peace
That is why God sent Jesus to be the Prince of Peace. Through His death and resurrection, our peace with God can be restored. We can’t have the peace of God until we have peace with God.
Questions about peace can become a meaningful way to talk about the problem that prevents us from having peace… and how God purposed to solve it.
But while we’re telling others about God’s peace, we need to talk to ourselves as well. We need to remind ourselves that with our relationship to God restored through faith in Jesus, His resources are constantly available, regardless of the circumstances facing us.
That peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit, and needs to be renewed continually. D. L. Moody was once asked why he urged Christians to be filled constantly with the Holy Spirit. I resonate with his answer: “Well,” he said, “I need a continual infilling because I leak!”*
We all “leak,” and the more we want to shine God’s gospel light, the more we need to be continually filled with His Spirit. Many of our Jews for Jesus missionaries are in harm’s way on a regular basis. Rockets from the Gaza Strip frequently interrupt daily life in Israel, where our most thriving branch is located. Almost daily, Isis-inspired stabbings create a sense of unease throughout the land and, for some, fear and despair. Pray for our staff there to be continually renewed and filled with the peace of God, not only for their sake, but also because that peace lights up their gospel testimony.
Pray for Peace
In Ukraine, the low-level war being waged by Russia and their proxy Russian separatists continues to impact our Kiev branch. Again, pray for a continual renewal for our staff there.
Paris authorities have designated Jews for Jesus as a target for potential terrorist attacks, and the police have erected barriers right in front of our office. Our staff there need your prayers.
And what can I say about the United Kingdom? Our London branch leader, Julia Pascoe, wrote: “This year’s terror attacks in London and Manchester remind us even more of how important it is to deliver the lifesaving news of the gospel in a time of great fear and uncertainty.”
As you pray for us, we also pray God’s peace for our friends and supporters. Some of you have shared your circumstances with us, and have asked prayer for peace despite those circumstances. I know what it’s like to experience a profound peace like that which really does surpass understanding (Philippians 4:6–7). At one of the worst moments of my life, when it seemed everything was coming apart at the seams, I had to focus on the fact that God is good. What was happening was awful, but God was still good. Someone asked me how I was feeling at the time, and I remember answering, “I feel powerless in the palm of Providence.” Have you felt that way? It is good to remember because that is the place where we can most readily see and experience the peace and presence of almighty God.
The Promise of Peace
Trouble and turmoil should not surprise us. Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33–34).
We look forward to the day when we will have that peace without the pain, without the sorrow and heartache, and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes (Revelation 7:17b). Our hope for peace is not in vain because one day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9b). In the meantime, Jews for Jesus needs your prayers as we bring news of the Prince of Peace to a restless world… and we in turn need to pray for you as you do your part wherever God has placed you!
David Brickner is also an author, public speaker and avid hiker. Find out more about David, his writings, speaking schedule and possible availability to speak at your church.