Vaccinated vs not vaccinated, Ford vs Ferrari, Democrat vs Republican, bad insurance company vs good insurance company, Iowa vs Iowa State, brother vs sister, mom vs dad, economic questions, terrorism, constitutional rights. Things like these are fighting for our undivided passion and attention and are disturbing the peace.
Even writing that paragraph increased my heart rate. When I live in that place, constantly surrounded by and soaking in positions and passions, it is inevitable that my anxiety will increase. And when I am dominated by anxiety, I am unable to find the peace I’m truly longing for.
My “go to text” is found in Philippians 4:4-8 which states,“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
The framework for peace in a Christian’s life is found in the gospel. It is, or should be, the cornerstone of why we respond differently than the world around us. But there are real questions at hand. How does the gospel supply peace in a time of increasing debate and disagreement?
As we meditate on the gospel, it reminds us that the trials we are facing here on earth are temporary (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). According to Genesis 1:1, there was nothing, and then God created. Because of this, no problem exists outside Him nor does any force exist that is greater or longer lasting than He is or has been. This truth encourages me to say, "How can I be on God’s team?". For, if I am created by Him, I don’t want to be apart from Him. This dynamic can be seen as my sons play with Legos. It is incredible what they build from day to day. (I was a “build what the directions say and play with it forever” guy.) They create dinosaurs, crazy robots, and neat castles. But each of their creations are nothing without them. The dinosaurs and robots, no matter how big or cool, cannot destroy the enemy's fort without the power of their creator. Nor can the giant Lego beast defend himself from the flying attack planes that swoop in on him to defeat the fort. All these creations are nothing without their creator and story-writer.
The gospel also tells me about the character of the author and my creator. He displays His love for us in that while we were still sinners He sent Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:6-8). While we daily wander from His fold and seek our own paths, he continues to pursue us and empower us to walk in obedience. Jesus provides us with greater God glorifying options than walking in sin (anger, frustration, anxiety, controlling behaviors, etc.).
Lastly, as has already been alluded to, the gospel gives me peace because it connects (reconciles) me with the author of all things, the Lord. It gives me faith to trust Him and walk through the decisions and massive amount of information that is coming at me (whether I want it or not). We have the benefit of time and the Scriptures, but there was a time as recorded in the Old Testament that the Israelites faced certain death when they were at the Red Sea. The Egyptians were angry and the Israelites, an unarmed people, would be slaughtered. In the eternal view of things, however, God had made a plan and was carrying out every detail (Exodus 14). Another time, when it seemed as if there were no God followers left, God had set aside 7,000 (1 Kings 19:9-18). Later, when the Israelites were carried off in their rebellion God provided a way for his plan to progress as promised. And, at the right time, God sent forth his Son born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those that were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4,5)
The gospel is the source of overwhelming peace. What can man do to me, for God has addressed my deepest issue (Psalm 118:6; Hebrews 13:6). When we recognize we are made right with God through Jesus Christ it informs how we rest and even how we respond through the tensions of the day. God is on his throne and will not leave it. He is in control. He is from eternity past to eternity future and nothing will overwhelm his power or surprise him (Daniel 4:34,35). He displayed these things through the promise of sending Jesus amidst all the turmoil that happened. Rest in God. Rest in his gospel.