The following is a short article I wrote for a local magazine, fleshed out a bit since I'm not under word-length constraints on my own blog (although that's not a bad idea now is it?).
Peace. What comes to mind when you read that word? Hippies and Woodstock? The Middle East? A quiet mountain scene?
Defining it is like nailing Jello to the ceiling. Peace is more than the absence of war, and it is not simply a synonym for silence. It can be a feeling but it is also a state. Influenced by circumstances but not dependent upon them, "peace of mind" is possible in the hardest of situations.
However you describe it, this much is certain: everyone wants peace. We crave it in our world, our nation, our relationships, and our own hearts.
But how? How can we find peace?
Good thing God has so much to say about it. The word "peace" is mentioned 420 times in the King James Version. Of special importance are the passages about peace between God and man.
Now, the Bible speaks the painful truth that man (both collectively and individually) in his natural state is an enemy of God (Romans 5:10). By breaking His laws, we have set ourselves against Him.
God doesn't grade on a curve: "Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). Nor does He allow exceptions: "For there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:22-23). And His punishment is sure: "He reserveth wrath for His enemies" (Nahum 1:2).
How do you make peace with someone you have irreversibly wronged, someone who has declared you The Enemy? An apology is a good start, followed by a change in behavior. But your efforts accomplish nothing if the wronged party does not extend grace, forgiveness, reconciliation. And peace.
That's just what God did. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Romans 5:10) "And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself... And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled. In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight" (Colossians 1:20-23).
The cost of peace is high—just ask our military veterans. In offering you eternal peace, God did not spare His own Son. Forget Woodstock; He is the ultimate peace activist.
Do you know God's peace?