By Charles F. Stanley
Bible Study: Because Christ Came
Sermon: The Prince Of Peace
Once, before a speaking engagement, a staff member and I were sharing a meal at a restaurant on the West Coast. The young woman waiting on us appeared to be in her twenties. During the meal, I posed this question to her: “If you could ask God for anything, what would it be?”
Without any hesitation she said, “I’d ask for peace.” A big tear made its way down her face as she told us about the death of her beloved grandmother a few days before.
In sharing her story, she explained that no one in her family believed in God, and neither did she. Our waitress had not consciously rejected the Lord—she had never heard about Him. All she knew was the deep restlessness within her. The young lady had no understanding about how to resolve that inner turmoil, or even what lay at its root. Like many people, she went from day to day without having much purpose or meaning in her life.
This woman represents so many people in our society today. They might not describe the emptiness they feel as a lack of peace. Some would use the words, “I am so lonely.” Others might say, “If only my spouse would love me more, I’d be happy.” Or, “If only I could be successful in my career . . . ” But these are all variations of the same theme: “There is something wrong. I am not happy. I have no peace. What is wrong with me?”
Our society bombards us with messages that supposedly answer this question. If only you were thinner . . . dressed better . . . drove a Jaguar . . . lived in a nicer house . . . made more money . . . The list goes on and on. But none of the “answers” proposed by society can permanently or satisfactorily provide what we desperately crave.
The young waitress had it correct. Most of us feel strongly that we need something more, and the all-encompassing word that describes it well is peace. But you will never experience such tranquility in this life until your relationship with the Lord is right.
A Friendship with Your Creator
The God who controls all things—and who is present in your life whether you acknowledge Him or not—is a God of peace. He designed this world with a plan in mind, and it includes you!
The Lord created humans so they would have a relationship with Him that is characterized by love—His loving them and their loving Him. And through His presence, He would protect and provide for mankind. Only through close friendship with the Creator can anyone receive deep, lasting, abiding peace. This idea is unique to Judeo-Christian thought.
What people sense as “loneliness,” “a deep void,” or “purposelessness” is a type of signal—or indicator—that God has built into man. It is a programmed message that we need Him. Through it, the Designer tells His creation, “Without Me, you will never feel complete. I am the only One who can satisfy your deepest longings. I will be the source of your peace.”
Sudden tragedy or personal loss can show us our need for help, comfort, and guidance. And it is at such a point of need that our kind and loving God often reveals how to know Him in a personal way.
How We can Have Peace with God
Jesus came into our world to live and die as one of us. He was both God and human at the same time—an amazing truth. As a sinless man, Jesus was killed because the religious leaders of His day felt threatened by His claims to be the Savior of the world.
His death wasn’t the end, however. After three days, He was resurrected by the power of God, triumphing over death. Before returning to His Father in heaven (Mark 16:19), Jesus promised the disciples that His presence would remain with them, and He would give them peace (Matt. 28:20; John 20:19).
God wants all of us to ask for His mercy, confess our sins, and trust Him for salvation—that’s the essence of His plan for you and me. It is also the fundamental requirement for experiencing His wonderful, continuous gift of peace.
When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and take control of our lives, He bridges the gap between God and man. Through Him, we have forgiveness (no more shame or guilt because of the past) and the assurance of His presence in our lives. Moreover, we have the opportunity to experience abiding peace—the gift promised to those who follow the Lord.
Adapted from “Finding Peace: God’s Promise of Life Free from Regret, Anxiety, and Fear” (2003).