The peace symbol of two spread fingers is fairly universally recognized and used in every culture. The peace symbol, designed originally for the nuclear-disarmament movement, has become a sign for all kinds of ideas and associations and even a fashion imprint on every type of clothing, jewelry, and what have you, signifying in many cases in the minds of the wearers little more than being “with it (though in ignorance). As early as the 5th century this same design of the peace symbol was associated with the occult and Satan, as well as the upside down crucifixion of the Apostle Peter. In any case the users and wearers of the peace symbol really represent the utter hodge-podge of meanings in the idea of peace which exists in the minds of those who trumpet it for whatever reason, selfish or altruistic! They truly fulfill the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “They heal the wound of my people lightly, saying, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace; mainly because they have no idea what “peace is.
The absence of war is not peace; nor has there ever been an absence of war somewhere in the world on some scale. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was murdered by the Nazis a few days before the end of WWII, wrote in prison, “So long as the world is without God, there will be wars. Furthermore, the Bible teaches clearly that wars will never cease until Christ’s future coming puts an end to them. Mankind, by itself, will never bring peace on earth, because men and women are sinners and sinners always find ways to instigate wars, even while proclaiming their hatred for them. Presidential candidate Ron Paul has attracted a significant number of supporters across all political lines, including many young people, simply by trumpeting, as a major part of his platform, ending America’s wars if elected. It makes little difference, it seems, that by so doing he invites the enemies to our own shores. He truly believes, as evidenced by his own statements, that no one will attack us if we just leave them alone. I do not know what world he grew up in. And far too many young people are truly ignorant of history and human nature.
Still, peace is attainable even in a world at war; unmistakable, undeniable peace is accentuated, and made known to its recipients because it is necessarily experienced in the midst of war. Just as beauty requires pain, so peace comes to fruition in an environment of war. We live in war whether metal bullets are flying around us or not; though they fly every day in every American city. You may not be inclined to believe so, but spiritual warfare is not less real than physical. Both destroy; though spiritual much more readily than physical. Thousands may die in Afghanistan or Iraq, but tens of thousands are dying within our borders where you may think we have peace. Ron Paul can rail about the costs in dollars of America’s foreign wars, but what of the far greater cost in dollars and families and lives and the health of the nation and her citizens every single day and night in America, because of the spiritual warfare of sin. Bullets flying on our streets is only a part of the onslaught of sin and the Prince of this world perpetrating mayhem in all forms everywhere around you; yes, even at your door. “Peace, peace when there is no peace! This is the mindset of the many who clamor for peace, with no idea where to find it, while looking in all the wrong places.
What exactly is “perfect peace? In the jungles of Viet Nam with the vestiges of war surrounding, nerves tense with the expectation of death and destruction, ominous omens in the deafening silence, and anxiety on steroids, I witnessed unexpected glimpses of tranquility and serenity in the beauty of a flower, the singing of a bird, the sound and sight of a waterfall, as if war was nowhere near me, only a bad dream. Is this not the very instruction Jesus gives in Matthew 6:25-34? Here is the picture of perfect peace: the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the grass of the meadow, all provided for minus any worry by the magnificent Gardener, who also happens to be your Father. Perfect peace is not the absence of war; it is the absence of worry; it is the serenity of your mind; it is the prosperity of your provisions; it is the happiness of your security; it is the joy of your anchored hope; it is trees clapping their hands in the wind in praise of their Creator, even while war rages around them. Perfect peace is your conscience at rest because your guilt is removed; your soul knows it is forgiven; your eyes are fixed on Jesus; your mind is unturned by the world from God’s promises to you.
You cannot find enough money to buy such perfect peace; nor slave away a lifetime to earn it. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money; come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant. (Isaiah 55) Perfect peace is there for the taking, but few reach out their hand and grab hold of it. Choose to be one of those few.
How do you find peace in the midst of the chaos of life?
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