Peace

While my wife and I were in Israel, several Christians asked us to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” – a phrase taken from Psalm 122:6.

Those words from David seem to refer to freedom from war.  When you think of it, few cities have been more battered by war than Jerusalem.  People have been fighting over this small city for more than 3,000 years.

War is a real concern to people living in Israel – Jews, Christians and Muslims.  Rockets still land in Israel.  And there was hand-to-hand combat in East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

On the other side, of course, Israelis have been fighting in Palestinian territory, too.

Peace seems a distant hope.  But it is a frequent refrain from Israeli believers we met.  They live with the threat of war and they want it to end.

However, it seems to me that any peace in Israel will not last forever, whatever today’s politicians are able to work out.  The book of Revelation indicates to me that there will be a final battle between the people of God and their enemies in Israel.

That doesn’t stop me from praying for the peace of Jerusalem.  It is worth having peace, however short it may be.  At least some people will be spared.

But, it also reminds me that there is a greater and surer peace – the peace of God.

In John 14:27, Jesus says:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

I am convinced this inner assurance of God’s presence and love is more important than anything else when you are under threat.  I have never faced the threat of war on my doorstep; but, I know I would need God’s peace within to carry on.  I know I would be a coward and an emotional basket case without it.

This offer of inner peace is open to me every day and yet I don’t take advantage of it.  I fret over little things – and sometimes big things.

But in the words of John 14: 27, Jesus tells me that he has given me his peace.  I already have it because Jesus is within me.  All I have to do is recognize that Jesus’ peace is Jesus himself.

It is an old story: When I put my faith in Jesus I received everything that Jesus is, including peace.  I just need to believe it and rest in that truth.

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