Last updated on February 14th, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27 (KJV)

As a history teacher, I spend many hours studying history and, trust me, there is nothing peaceful about history. We, as humans, are always talking about peace, about wanting the world we live in to be peaceful, and about how everyone should live in peace and just get along.

During Christmas time this past year, I was listening to Christmas music with my son. Many of the songs spoke about peace on earth and goodwill to men. While I was listening, my heart was anxious because of the chaos going on in the world around me. I spent many hours trying to reconcile the idea of peace on earth with events taking place.

One day during my devotions, I ran across an interesting verse. Jesus is talking and he said, “Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth: I have not come to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34a (paraphrase)

Wait! That cannot be right! I am hearing these words streaming from my tv,

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,

God is not dead nor does He sleep,

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

with peace on earth, goodwill to men.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

and

From angels bending near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold:

Peace on the earth, goodwill to men

From heaven’s all-gracious King.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Edmund Sears

This is while I am reading Jesus’ words that say, “I have not come to send peace, but a sword.”

At this point, I have a choice. I can brush aside what I just read and go back to my comfortable way of thinking, or I can do some research to figure out why all the songs about Jesus’ birth talk about peace on earth when Jesus himself says he did not come to bring peace.

Now since I am only human, my first thought was to brush aside what I had just read and say, “That cannot be right. Of course, God wants us to have peace and safety because we are Christians and Americans. Those two things guarantee that our lives are to be perfect and happy, right?” Yes, I am being a little facetious here.

Instead, I decided to do a little research. I turned deeper into my Bible for my answers. Here are many of the verses that I found on peace. (KJV)

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

Judges 18:6 Go in peace.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalms 29:11b The Lord blesses his people with peace.

Psalms 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you only, Oh Lord makes me dwell in safety.

Mark 5:34 Go in peace, thy faith has made the whole.

If there are all these verses on peace, then where is the discrepancy between them and Jesus’ words? If we are supposed to have peace, why is the world always in turmoil? Then I realized something very important.

God does not promise us external peace. Jesus is right. He did not come to bring peace to the world. There is no such thing! As long as humans exist there will be disagreements, bitterness, anger, and unkindness. We brought this sin upon us, and it will be with us until the end.

On the other side, God does promise us internal peace. He gives us what the world does not have: real peace. God offers us peace for our minds, hearts, and souls.

So, what does this look like for a Christian person? It literally means that we do not live with fear, anxiety, or worry. It means that no matter what is happening outside our doors, we can continue our lives quietly and in peace because we know that God is in control.  That in and of itself can be so freeing. I cannot change anyone other than myself, so to worry and fret over anything beyond my control is to say to God, “I do not accept the peace that you offer to me.”

Wanting all situations and circumstances to bring me happiness, contentment, and safety is asking God for external peace. It is telling God, “I need to be in control and have my life run smoothly.” However, when I give that control over to God and say, “No matter what happens, I have faith that God knows what he is doing,” I am granted the gift of internal peace.

Internal peace is so satisfying, so freeing. In the online Bible study that I lead, we have been discussing Philippians 4:8 and Matthew 6:34. These verses instruct us that we are to only think about what is true (what is happening right now) and to only worry about the things pertaining to this day.

Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 6 that God takes care of everything, right down to the sparrows and the blades of grass. Basically, he is saying, “Nothing is in your control, so why are you worried about it? Keep your thoughts on your tasks for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.” It is when you do that you can start to experience internal peace.

I have found something interesting about internal peace. Everybody wants it and, if you have it, it can be contagious. If you have found God’s true peace, your home becomes more peaceful. People know that when they enter there, they feel at peace and that all the outside worries do not exist there.

You will find that people start to question you. They want to know how you can go through life so calmly and how nothing upsets you. Then you get a chance to tell them about real peace.

Now at this point, you may be saying, “Well, good for you, but it is easier said than done!” You are right. Absolutely, 100% right! The ladies in my Bible study will also attest to this fact. We had a saying in the Army, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Things like peace, joy, love, those things have to be worked at continually.

Do I float through life on the wings of peace not allowing any frustration or worry to enter in? No! I am only human and just starting this peace journey myself. However, I have read about some, and known others personally, who have this peace. This is what makes me desire it. Remember, it is contagious!

Did these people have perfect lives in safety and comfort? Did they live out their lives in luxury and wealth? No. That would be the external peace that the world offers. These people often went through awful circumstances as ministers, missionaries, and Christians. But they faced everything that came their way with internal peace. That is the best kind!

This is what I want for me, the ability to get up each morning and say, “You know what God, I do not know what today brings. I definitely cannot predict the future. However, you have everything under control. Nothing that can happen is new to you. So, I am going to give you my day and everything in it. I am going to go about my business taking care of the tasks you have given me and let you handle the rest. In Jesus name, Amen.”

I hope and pray that you also want the internal peace that comes with trusting God to handle our lives and will join me on my journey for a real peace-filled life.