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We Need His Peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27, ESV

[This article was written for The Salem News, September 1, 2020]

In these days of COVID-19, racial tension, civil unrest, and killer Asian hornets, we search for answers. Who can blame us? It's not that we weren't searching for answers before. We were. It's just now we have a more profound sense of urgency. We sense the social fabric of our nation has torn from top to bottom. We are separated along political lines, racial lines, over how the spread of COVID-19 should be handled; those things are on top of the issues that were already fracturing us.

I’m challenged, and I am, as my brother-in-law has said before, unflappable. This has shaken my unflappability. As a husband and father, at times, I feel helpless to protect. As a minister, because of the weight of helping shepherd people who have opinions that span the spectrum from deep conspiracy to wearing a mask in the shower, at times, I feel drawn and quartered.
It's these feelings that have led me to a constant prayer. We need His peace. Jesus promised us peace. However, even in little ole Salem, we seem to be lacking in this one thing. Let not your hearts be troubled. Yet, we’re troubled. Neither let them be afraid. Nevertheless, we're afraid. May I submit to you that if you're troubled or afraid (or both), you have valued something else a greater possession than the peace of Christ.

On the one hand, many of us are afraid of getting sick. On the other, many of us are fearful of losing liberty. Ironically, both groups are fishing on different sides of the same boat. Both groups are afraid, neither have peace. Fear opens the door to self-righteous anger. The Apostle James says, “[for] the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20, ESV

We need the peace of Christ. We need His peace to dominate our lives. We need His peace more than we need a cure for COVID-19. We need His peace more than we need civil liberties. Until we believe that, we will continue to look down on each other from our ideological pedestals and cast judgment. When we seek and find His peace, masks and liberties won't become unimportant; they only cease to be most important.

The peace of Christ in these times of unrest maybe one of the most substantial evidences of His power. It will help make us more peculiar people. Jesus called us salt and light. Too much salt and a meal is ruined. Too much light and it is blinding. Living in His peace while the world seems to be imploding is one way we entice people to the Gospel. It is just enough salt and light that people can taste and see that the Lord is good.

Will you seek His peace? He has already given it through the Holy Spirit. If you trust Jesus more than masks and liberty, you will find it.

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