JENNA TEACHEY | GUEST
What comes to mind when you hear the word “peace”? It’s funny, but when I hear the word peace, I think about the movie Miss Congeniality. It’s a cute comedy with Sandra Bullock starring as an FBI agent who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. At the end of the movie, the final five contestants are asked, “What is the one most important thing our society needs?” They all say, “world peace” except for Bullock’s character who says society needs stronger punishment for parole violators. When she says it, the auditorium goes completely silent, and the crowd looks appalled and Bullock quickly adds, “and world peace.” The crowd then goes wild, cheering and applauding. It makes me chuckle every time I watch it.
I recognize the movie is clearly making fun of the typical beauty pageant answer of “world peace.” But really, who doesn’t want world peace? Who in their right mind prefers war over peace? So, what exactly is this peace that we all want? Webster defines peace as a freedom from disturbance; a state in which there is no war. This definition of peace sounds awesome but the more I have pondered this, it also seems fleeting.
When Peace is Fleeting
I personally love peace and upon reading the definition I thought, sign me up! I am the first to admit that peace and quiet are one of my favorite things in life. Give me 10 minutes of alone time in a peaceful quiet space and I am one happy lady! Honestly, I crave the comfort of peace and it can easily become an idol in my life. It can quickly turn from a desire to a demand in my heart.
You see, I have a husband whom I dearly love, three amazing active daughters and a full-time job in ministry. There is not much space in my life where there is freedom from disturbance. At times, it can feel like I am living in a war zone with clothes, shoes, and accoutrements lurking in corners and under tables. Dirty dishes and unfolded laundry constantly nag at me. Bickering siblings become the sound of gongs. The raging hormones turn into yelling and loud sobs of tears. And at work, there’s the constant pressure that I’m behind. Am I doing enough to support our body? How do we care for those deeply impacted by the pandemic? Am I reaching out enough to those who are hurting? There’s no lack of chaos in my heart and head most days. And I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
So, what can we do when peace becomes a fading notion in our lives?
A Perfect Peace
Jesus tells us in John 16:25-33 that He has overcome the world and in Him we have peace. He says, “‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’” The peace in this passage isn’t a fleeting peace. Christ alone gives us peace. He has already overcome the world and we can trust Him.
He also tells us that peace does not mean easy. Jesus never promised easy. We will have tribulation BUT, there is a pivot! We can take heart because Christ Jesus is our peace. In Philippians 4:7, Paul says “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We can rest and guard our busy chaotic hearts and minds with the never-ending peace of Jesus Christ. Time with Him, even ten minutes of silent prayer driving in the car, will ground us in His perfect peace.
Paul Miller, in his book J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life, shares the idea that the normal Christian life re-enacts the dying and rising of Jesus. We face tribulations, disturbances, and disappointments daily and we can easily become cynical and hopeless. Our only hope is to follow Jesus, dying to the flesh and rising up in His peace and power. Through daily forgiveness and repentance, we die to sin and are made alive in Christ. We share in His sufferings, and we find ourselves rejoicing when His glory is revealed through our troubles (1 Peter 4:13). We begin to see that we can’t have the resurrection without the death!
God is our true shalom. Through Jesus, we have a deep abiding peace. He is our Messiah, the Prince of Peace. In Him and Him alone we find completeness and wholeness through God the Father. So, when there is war raging in our hearts and disturbances impacting our daily lives, we can trust Him. When there is a literal war taking place around the globe, we look to heaven and take heart, knowing that God has overcome the world and will one day restore all things. We don’t have to wait until there is an absence of war or a lack of disruption to have peace in our hearts. Sisters, let’s follow the story He is writing into a life filled with joyous peace.
About the Author:
Jenna is on staff with Atlanta Westside Church in the Discipleship Ministry. She loves helping others grow in the Gospel and listening to stories of God’s faithfulness, through both the joys and sufferings of life. She previously worked with Campus Outreach, taught first graders and was a stay-at-home mom. She is married to Doug and a mother of three girls, Elie (15), Mollie (13) and Charlie (9). Jenna graduated from The University of Georgia and is an avid dawg football fan! She loves the beach, anything chocolate, coffee and brunch with her girlfriends and exploring new restaurants with her husband.