Can You Find Peace in This Troubled World?
DO YOU live in peace? For many, the clear answer is no. They live in areas plagued by wars, political unrest, ethnic violence, or terrorism. Even if you are spared such calamities, you might find your peace disturbed by crime, harassment, and quarrels with business partners or neighbors. Families too are often like war zones rather than havens of peace.
Many people yearn for inner peace. They may search for it in religion, meditation seminars, or yoga groups. Others hope to find peace in nature—taking vacation trips, hiking in mountains and wilderness areas, or visiting natural spas. Even if the searchers seem to find some inner peace, they may soon come to realize that such peace is superficial and short-lived.
So where can you find real peace? The source of peace is our Creator, Jehovah God. Why? He is the “God who gives peace.” (Romans 15:33) Under the rule of his Kingdom that is soon to come, there will be an “abundance of peace.” (Psalm 72:7; Matthew 6:9, 10) This is far more than just a feeble peace settlement. Such accords often herald little more than a brief interruption in hostilities. But God’s peace will eliminate all causes of war and strife. In fact, no one will learn war anymore. (Psalm 46:8, 9) Real peace for all at last!
As beautiful as this hope is, you might nevertheless yearn for a measure of peace right now. Is there a way to find inner peace that can carry you through our troubled times? Happily, the Bible shows us the way. Consider some guidelines in the 4th chapter of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. You are invited to read verses 4 to 13 in your own Bible.
“The Peace of God”
In verse 7 we read: “The peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” This peace does not come through mere meditation or character development. Rather, it comes from God. This peace is so powerful that it “excels all thought.” It surely surpasses all our anxieties, knowledge, and reasoning. We might see no way out of our problems, but God’s peace can fill us with the well-founded hope that one day all our troubles will be gone.
Impossible? With men yes; but “all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) Faith and trust in God help us to control our worries. Think of a young child lost in a big store. He knows for sure that all he has to do is find Mommy and everything will be fine again. Like that child when he is found, we can trust that God will take us in his arms, so to speak. He will soothe us and finally chase away all our anxieties.
Many worshippers of Jehovah have experienced the peace of God under the most severe trials. For example, consider Nadine, who lost her unborn baby. She relates: “I find it hard to talk about my feelings, and I always try to keep a stiff upper lip. But inside, I was brokenhearted. Almost every day, I poured out my heart to Jehovah in prayer and begged him for help. I have felt the power of prayer, for whenever I was at my worst and thought, ‘I can’t go on any longer,’ I experienced inner serenity and peace. I felt safe and secure.”
Protection for Your Heart and Mind
Let us go back to Philippians 4:7. It says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and mental powers. Just as a sentry guards his post, the peace of God guards our heart, so that materialistic philosophies, unnecessary anxieties, and ungodly values do not enter. Consider an example.
Many people in this troubled world believe that in order to be happy and secure, they need substantial financial assets. On the advice of experts, they may invest some of their savings in stocks. Do they then really feel at peace? Not necessarily. They may anxiously check the share prices every day, wondering whether to sell, buy, or hold. When the stock market takes a downturn, they may panic. The Bible certainly does not condemn making investments, but it does offer this sound insight: “A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income. This too is vanity. Sweet is the sleep of the one serving, regardless of whether it is little or much that he eats; but the plenty belonging to the rich one is not permitting him to sleep.”—Ecclesiastes 5:10, 12.
Philippians 4:7 concludes by saying that the peace of God guards our hearts and mental powers “by means of Christ Jesus.” What connection is there between Christ Jesus and the peace of God? Jesus plays the key role in the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Jesus gave his life so that we may be delivered from sin and death. (John 3:16) He is also the enthroned King of God’s Kingdom. Knowing the role that Jesus has can contribute greatly to our peace of mind and heart. How so?
If we sincerely repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice, God will extend forgiveness, which contributes to our peace of mind and heart. (Acts 3:19) When we realize that life cannot be enjoyed to its fullest extent until the coming of Christ’s Kingdom, we avoid frantically living as if this life is all there is. (1 Timothy 6:19) Of course, we are not spared all trouble, but we can find comfort in the sure hope that the best life is yet to come.
How You Can Find God’s Peace
So how can you find God’s peace? We find some hints at Philippians 4:4, 5, where we read: “Always rejoice in the Lord. Once more I will say, Rejoice! Let your reasonableness become known to all men. The Lord is near.” When Paul wrote those words, he was unjustly imprisoned in Rome. (Philippians 1:13) Instead of lamenting his unfair treatment, he encouraged his fellow believers always to rejoice in the Lord. His joy clearly depended, not upon his circumstances, but upon his relationship with God. We too need to learn to enjoy serving God whatever our circumstances. The better we know Jehovah and the more fully we do his will, the more we will enjoy serving him. That, in turn, will bring us satisfaction and inner peace.
In addition, we are encouraged to be reasonable. If we cultivate reasonableness, we will not expect too much of ourselves. We know that we are not perfect; we cannot be the best in everything. So why lose sleep pondering how to be perfect or, at least, better than everybody else? Neither will we expect others to be perfect. Therefore, we can keep calm when they rub us the wrong way. Another rendering of the original Greek word translated “reasonableness” is “yieldingness.” If we are yielding in matters of personal preference, we avoid quarrels, which often are of little profit but which can take away peace with others as well as our inner peace for a period of time.
The next statement at Philippians 4:5, “the Lord is near,” may seem to be out of context. God will soon come to replace this old system of things with a new one under his Kingdom. But even now he can be near to everyone who draws close to him. (Acts 17:27; James 4:8) Being aware of his closeness helps us to rejoice, to be reasonable, and not to be anxious about today’s problems or the future, as verse 6 brings out.
When we look at verses 6 and 7, we recognize that the peace of God is a direct consequence of prayer. Some view prayer merely as a form of meditation, thinking that any form of prayer can further their inner calmness. The Bible, however, speaks of genuine communication with Jehovah, a communication as intimate as when a child shares his joys and worries with a loving parent. How soothing to know that we can come to God “in everything.” Whatever is on our minds or deeply buried in our hearts, we can confide in our heavenly Father.
Verse 8 encourages us to concentrate on positive thoughts. It is not enough, however, just to think of positive things. As verse 9 explains, we also have to put the good advice of the Bible into practice. Doing so will give us a clean conscience. How true the proverb is: A good conscience is a soft pillow!
Yes, you can find inner peace. It comes from Jehovah God, who gives it to those who draw close to him and who want to follow his guidance. By an examination of his Word, the Bible, you can become familiar with his thoughts. Applying his directions is not necessarily easy. But it is worth all the effort because “the God of peace will be with you.”—Philippians 4:9.
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“The peace of God . . . will guard your hearts.”—PHILIPPIANS 4:7
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How soothing to know that we can come to God “in everything”