I’ve heard the word peace since I was a child. I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s, and the desire for peace figured prominently into the psyche of that generation. Peace symbols were everywhere: on pants, jackets, signs, and posters, to name a few. Even song lyrics and television commercials spoke of peace.
Yet, like today, there was little peace in the world. There were riots on our college campuses, demonstrations at our nation’s capital; racial tension plagued America. Many prominent political and social leaders were murdered. Sounds like today. Our world desperately craved peace, begged for it, and sang about it. But what everyone claimed to desire the most is still noticeably absent from the world—and from most lives.
The world is looking for peace, but it’s looking in all the wrong places.
The prophet Isaiah lived in the late eighth century BC, before the birth of Jesus. His message was true when he recorded it; it was true in the ’60s; and it is still powerful and true today: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you” (Isa. 26:3).
The Hebrew word for “peace” here is shalom. It is the traditional greeting for hello and goodbye in Israel. The Lord, the God of Israel, is telling the world peace can only come from one source: Him. “You [God] will keep him [anyone who trusts in the Lord through a personal relationship with Him] in perfect peace.” How does such peace occur? If our minds are “stayed on” Him (completely resting and firmly trusting the Lord, without reservation). We obtain peace by focusing on the Lord.
The world is looking for peace, but it’s looking in all the wrong places. What we need is simply to turn toward the one true God and to trust in Him, as small children trust their parents.
When my youngest daughter was a toddler, she would often greet me as I walked in the door, shouting, “Daddy!” Then she’d jump off the stairs into my arms, fully expecting I would catch her. She trusted that her daddy would not drop her or let her get hurt.
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As adults, we take a seat without questioning if the chair will hold us. It’s a chair; it’s designed to hold people. So we sit. We trust the chair. We need to trust in the Lord with our hopes, our dreams, our families, our future, our lives. Only then will we have shalom, the peace we so desperately long for.