Peace in the Midst of Trouble

By Pastor Teck Uy

The daily news is always dominated by all kinds of unrest or trouble, whether here locally or internationally. We often wonder why these things are happening, but should we be surprised by all these events that are unfolding before our eyes? Not at all! Jesus himself said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). While there are troubles that will come, believers are not rendered helpless. We can find the peace that is so elusive to many in Christ Jesus. Indeed, we cannot expect much from the world but trouble. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can give the peace that we all desire. He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27).

But what is peace? Peace is not the absence of strife or the cessation of hostilities. Besides, peace cannot be dictated or imposed. Peace is more than outward because it is the attitude of the heart where there is calmness, serenity or tranquility. True peace can only be found in Jesus Christ because the Bible tells us that he is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). This world can only give truce, not peace. It is a temporary cessation of hostilities or what is commonly known as a ceasefire. While there is an outward appearance of peace, there is a raging battle within that is only waiting for a time to blow up and start the fighting again. The apostle James explained this inner battle when he said, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” (James 4:1-2).

We are often led to believe that when two people walk and eat together, they are living in peace. Far from it! There are those who project peace and unity, but inwardly are burning in anger and hatred. This was fully demonstrated by Cain, the son of Adam. He was very angry at his brother and his face was downcast because, unlike his brother’s, his offering to God was not acceptable. Knowing what was in his heart, God confronted him saying, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Gen. 4:6-7). Instead of listening to God’s rebuke, he invited his brother to the field and as they walked together, he killed him there. He allowed himself to be enslaved by his emotion, rather than ruling over it as God had said. Cain was not totally helpless at that moment. He had at his disposal the ability to make the right choice.

Many find themselves in Cain’s situation where they become slaves to their emotion. There is much restlessness and anxiety in their hearts that they are eventually overcome by it. While they may say that all is well, it will show in their countenance. They cannot hide their inner turmoil because the face reflects what the heart is full of. They need to listen to the admonition of the apostle Paul, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). Anxiety is a cruel task master since it causes much internal turmoil. We need to fully trust in God for us to bring about the peace that we need to overcome it. No wonder the prophet Isaiah, in his Song of Praise, said, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isa. 26:3).

In his psalm, King David revealed the key to enjoyable life when he said, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). This is a restatement of what God told Cain. If sin is not arrested, it will bring forth death. Therefore, it has to be nipped in the bud. It is only then that we can have peace. Besides, we all need to be men and women of peace. We should not only seek peace but should vigorously pursue it. We cannot underestimate the blessings that come with peace. It can bring healing not only to our troubled soul, but our body as well. A man of peace is cheerful and the Bible tells us that “a cheerful heart is a good medicine”. In addition to having peace within us, we also need to be peace makers. Jesus himself said that “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9). Yes, there will be trouble in this world but as long as we have the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall have peace. Praise the Lord!