"...on earth peace among men..." Luke 2:14
The angelic chorus witnessed by the shepherds included this blessing for peace to those with whom God is pleased. The letter to the Hebrews declares it impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6) - the kind of faith Jesus spoke of when the Roman centurion told Jesus not to bother coming to his home to heal a servant, only to speak healing and he knew the servant would be healed. Jesus was amazed at such great faith by the centurion. (Matthew 8:5-13)
God bestows peace to those who, by the faith He generates, exercise their faith in Him to grant peace of mind and seek peace with others. Faith is circular in its source and exercise - one receives a measure of faith from God to engage it in pursuits that bring honor to God.
As the year draws to a close, we see that the time for peace has not yet come: terrorists threaten jihad around the world; outbreaks of sickness occur around the world; war displaces hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking asylum; violent storms ravage the planet, claiming thousands of lives; and even in the "civilized" USA, a clash of cultures has erupted over the killings of police officers and citizens of color. People cry out for relief, for calm, for peace without success.
God's desire, though, is for each of us to know and experience His peace... it's why Jesus was born in the first place. The Bible tells us that Jesus is The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and those who know and walk with Him experience lives of peace beyond the comprehension of this world (Philippians 4:7). In fact, Jesus Himself IS our peace (Ephesians 2:14). In other words, amid the chaos of this world, the Christian can experience peace in and through the world's tragedy as Jesus works in and through us to bring His peace to the world.
Corrie ten Boom described seeing such peace in her sister, Betsie, while in a German concentration camp during WWII. While in the horrid conditions of the Ravensbruk concentration camp and nearing her own death, Betsie would not allow any hatred or bitterness to enter her mind, only peace and forgiveness.
Has life unsettled you? Has tragedy struck your household this year? Have heartache or bitterness overcome and disillusioned you? Ask the Prince of Peace to shower His grace over you and give you His calm assurance of His presence with you in your life's journey. Let go of any anger, bitterness, and hatred, and allow the sweet savor of God's peace to flow through you... bringing heaven's peace to the turmoil of the world around you.
Confess any sin getting in the way of your prayers. Ask God to replace any bitterness, confusion, overcoming sadness or grief with His peace. Pray for peace within your family and extended family, your neighbors, your fellow church members, and work associates... and pray for world peace, please.