Against the backdrop of escalating tensions and war in the world, I turn to my faith for comfort. My God is not a God of hate. My God is a God of love. My God is not a God of grudges and revenge. My God is a God of understanding and forgiveness. My God is not a God of death. My God gives eternal life to those who desire it. My God is not a God of war. My God is a God of peace. In fact, Christ is referred to in the Bible as the “Prince of Peace.” His death was not the end. His victory over death was a new beginning.
The Reverend Billy Graham taught that the word “peace” as used in the Bible actually is used differently throughout it to embrace three distinct concepts:
- “Spiritual peace” (between an individual and God);
- “Psychological peace” (within ourselves); and,
- “Relational peace” (among people).
The Bible teaches that peace is attainable if people follow God’s will and put love for God and other people above all else. When we fail to do this, we neglect or hurt ourselves spiritually — and we negatively alter our well-being and the well-being of the world around us.
Graham believed that the deepest problems facing the human race today are of a spiritual nature. He believed they are based on people’s “rebellion” against God. According to Graham, the world as it exists today is not the world God intended it to be. It is the result of men and women’s exercise of “free will” in a manner contrary to God’s will. It is a problem of the heart.
I understand that mankind will probably rebel against God as long as men and women are given “free will.” I suppose our rebellion is similar to how young children rebel against their parents. Like children, we probably don’t comprehend the consequences of what we are doing or don’t know how to undo what we’ve begun. Perhaps we have not yet outgrown our selfish world view. Perhaps we work against our humanity and God by putting ourselves first. Albert Einstein believed man is the root of all war, not God. Einstein once stated, “As long as there will be man, there will be wars.” Not because war is inevitable, but because mankind is predictable. We have a tendency to sin.
But that doesn’t mean that the world is not beautiful, that people are not lovable, or that peace cannot find a way. To the contrary, beauty, love, and the seeds of peace are all around us. There is great beauty in the world for those who choose to see it; people are loved by God and lovable to all who lead with their heart; and, peace is possible for those who reconcile themselves with God and each other. It’s within our grasp.
We have been given many great gifts by God. We have been given the opportunity for redemption and eternal life. We have been given the opportunity for change if we want it and are willing to work for it. Within ourselves, we have been granted sight to see beauty where we least expect it; love to heal our broken hearts and kindle it in others; and, a divine spark to ignite the changes necessary to bring about peace within our relationship with God, ourselves, and others. We have it within ourselves to change the world for the better.
With God’s grace, by inviting Him into our hearts, committing our lives to Him, and trusting where God will lead us, we are already there.
Photo by Jazzdat