Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Peace

Like many Canadians, my wife and I were glued to the television in the early days of the recent Egyptian uprising.

On one hand, we caught the joy of the crowds as they protested against an oppressive dictator.  On the other hand, we wondered whether the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak would  mean more trouble – and even war – in the Middle East.

The turmoil continues with Libya on the verge of change following Egypt and Tunisia.  What does the future hold?

This is a question that Israel and Judah faced frequently in Bible times.  The Israelites had to fight the Babylonians (now modern Iraq), the Persians (now Iran), and the Egyptians.  They sometimes lost and were enslaved.  Sometimes they survived attacks by outsiders like the Ammonites and Moabites (now in modern Jordan).

Modern Israel faces the same neigbours in different guises.  There is an uneasy peace right now which might evaporate in any minute.

Of course, war in the Middle East would have an even greater impact today – drawing in outside countries like the United States.  The situation in the Middle East has been a central world issue now for decades.  So uneasiness in the Middle East should make everyone uneasy.

Should it make believing Christians afraid?

Concerned, yes.  But not afraid.

I am not speaking of the Second Coming.  I am one of those believers who anticipates that the last great war in history will be in the Middle East.  That will herald Christ’s return and the coming of a new world of peace.  That is certainly one reason why we should not fear what will happen in history because, in the end, all things are in God’s hands and the final result will be good.

However, the real reason why I believe we should not be afraid is that Christ is our peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus was speaking these words hours before his death on the cross when his disciples scattered in fear and trembling.  He was not promising a political peace – he was talking about spiritual peace, peace of the heart.

Many Christians have faced torture and death with confidence, knowing that they belong to Jesus and will be with him forever, no matter what happens.  That is peace.

Of course, no one wants to be tortured or to die.  At least, normal people do not.

But the peace that comes from knowing Jesus and resting confidently in his grace will carry us through the little trials of this world – and the world-shaking ones, too.

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