“Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.”
This is what the angels said in their announcement to the shepherds. The Messiah had come. He would bring peace. Yet just a mere 70 years later, Jerusalem fell to the Romans after a long, violent siege. The Temple was completely destroyed. Where was the peace the angels spoke of? Even today, it’s hard to see the “peace on earth”.
Where is peace???
Peace certainly doesn’t fill the news headlines. Aleppo and Berlin have suffered from a lack of peace. Peace doesn’t even fill out own political scene as mobs have rioted in the streets over our recent election.
Is God a liar? Was peace too hard for Him?
First of all, world peace is a yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy for the future. It will happen only when Jesus comes to reign on a new earth…
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4 ESV)
Second, we CAN find peace on earth today. We just have to look differently. It’s obviously not in current events, but peace does reside in the small places…where God has taken His residence in the human heart.
Several friends of mine volunteered to share their stories of Divine peace. They share different ways that God filled their hearts with humanly impossible peace in the middle of tough circumstances.
“In the winter of 2001, we were visiting my grandparents. It was obvious that something was wrong with Grandpa, and that it was probably something terminal. As I was driving home, I started praying in earnest, ‘Please, God, let Grandpa be OK.’ I received an answer as I was driving. I don’t know how to describe it other than the Holy Ghost spoke to me. The answer was ‘No, but its in My hands.’
“I knew then that my Grandpa’s time was limited. And the next week that was confirmed with a diagnosis of late-stage cancer. In a couple months, the pain Grandpa was in was so debilitating he couldn’t do anything–not even eat. We were all praying, but my Grandma had a specific prayer. She asked for three more months, she told God she just wasn’t ready to loose him yet. God gave her six more months, and they were good months.
“The pain was controlled by some new medication. Grandpa was able to go to one more family reunion, another blues festival, and all summer able to visit and make memories with family who came. In the fall, we could tell his time here was almost done as he needed to sleep more and more but still he wasn’t in pain.
“In all my life, Grandpa never went to church, even though Grandma did, so we had no idea if he had accepted Christ. But as his time neared, he asked to speak to my Grandma’s pastor. Some time later my Mom over heard him praying, ‘I give it all to you Lord.’ The peace we all had learning that Grandpa surrendered to God is immeasurable. A couple weeks later with one last fist bump on my brother’s arm, my Grandpa lost consciousness and passed away peacefully. As God had promised me, it had all been in his hands.” –Stacy Perkins
And here, God gave peace by sending a special person to calm frayed nerves…twice!
“I was very nervous about going for surgery at the same hospital where I had previously had a D&C for a heartbreaking miscarriage. During the D&C, I woke up crying because I was sad about losing baby Ruby. The nurse who took care of me was so kind. I told her about Ruby and she told me about the three babies she lost. Outside of the curtain a different nurse was talking about being newly pregnant so she quietly went out and told her I had just lost a baby and asked her to not talk about it where I could hear her (I never mentioned being able to hear it) I thought it was so compassionate of her to notice that it could be hard for me to hear that.
“In my recent surgery, the nurse I had in the first stage of recovery initially kind of left me hanging for a bit. I was in so much pain, I was crying and asked for more medicine, but she disappeared for a while making rounds. Then the nurse from my D&C just so happened to be the nurse to relieve the first nurse so she could go on break. I told her that I had been praying I would see her today because I wanted to thank her for how she took care of me and how much it meant to me that she referred to my baby by name and that she made such a difference in my life just by being kind. I made her cry. And then Iasked if I could give her a hug. I told her the way she treated me is something I will never forget. It was really neat to have the chance to talk to her today.”–Rosalynn Lasley
Here’s a story of peace in the middle of overwhelming challenges:
“God gave me peace in a troubled time when we got our little foster-kiddos, whom we later adopted. My husband worked long hours, and the kiddos needed so much attention. I didn’t have an extended family or friends to offer help. It was all very overwhelming. It was like having twins with high needs: all the doctors appointments, OCS visits, therapy, bio-visits and phone calls, crying days and nights, missing their family, and the behavioral, emotional and educational care needed. I was worn out! I needed care, help, love.
“One day in my frustration, I called out to God, ‘Why isn’t anyone helping me? Nobody sees what I’m trying to do; nobody cares. I give and I give. People take and take.’ I was just having a full on pity party when there it was, ‘My child, do you see what I have done?’
“I stopped dead in my words, my action of complaining. The tears flowed. Jesus was right. He gave it all. He sacrificed everything. How many people miss what Jesus did. I know over the past several months, I had forgotten. He left heaven to come to earth to die for people who didn’t notice, who didn’t care, who didn’t understand or appreciate it. But He still did it.
“I was complaining because of being tired and having a hard time. I felt so frustrated one moment and convicted the next. I repented of my selfish and prideful heart. My tears went from repentance to thankfulness. Peace flooded over me. I knew this was what God wanted me to do. I had peace about it. Jesus laid down His life for me…I will now lay down my life for these little ones. I will lay down my life for Jesus, it’s the least I could do for Him. From that moment on Jesus gave me peace and joy to fulfill a purpose for Him. Who am I to question God?” –anonymous
So God DID keep His promise about “peace on earth.” The Holy Spirit brings us peace in circumstances where there really shouldn’t be peace. He performs these obscure miracles many times a day, in His followers around the world.
Someday Jesus will bring world peace, but until then, He brings peace to those in the world.