Peace for the Journey

We have just set out on our journey into the new year, but I’m circling back to my thought posted for Christmas 2017. It was just an image, an e-card of sorts, with these words: “May the Prince of Peace reign in your heart at Christmas and always.” It is in Isaiah that the title “Prince of Peace” is bestowed on the coming Messiah. It is in Luke that the angels proclaim “peace on earth” when the Messiah is revealed as Jesus, and the baby Prince comes to begin His reign. And it is in my heart that it really needs to happen.

The world has been churning up perpetual chaos in recent years: earthquakes, fires, floods, famine, wars and threats of war. For families dealing with mental illness, those external events are poignant symbols for the chaos in our lives. When our loved ones’ minds are churning like great waves or their unsettledness sends their thoughts leaping and flaring like a raging fire, our lives are disrupted through seismic-like shocks. And it is then we ask, “Where is my Prince of Peace?”

All too vivid is the story of the disciples fearing for their lives in the little boat in the rough storm (Luke 8:22-25; Matthew 8:23-37). The wind is whipping, the waves are pounding and where is the Prince of Peace? Asleep. How could that be? The disciples make an obvious, but terribly wrong, assumption: the Prince is asleep because He doesn’t care that they are about to drown. Actually, the opposite is true: the Prince is seemingly inattentive because He knows they will get through the storm. He has already told them they will not drown. “One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they set out.” (Luke‬ ‭8:22‬)  

His words, His voice, His promise had all offered assurance that they would get to the other side. Before they had even set out on their journey, before they had gotten into the boat, the Prince of Peace had given them all the hope they needed to weather the upcoming storm. But once the rains came, the waves bellowed and the wind howled, they had stopped hearing the words of peace, and instead began to believe the sounds of chaos telling them they would perish. Jesus said they would go to the other side. The storm said they would drown.

Panic came from believing the circumstances were in charge. Fear arose when they put their faith in what they could see instead of what their Prince had promised (Hebrews 11:1). And in the end, it is their misaligned faith that Jesus calls to their attention: “And he said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’” (Luke 8:25). Notice He didn’t say, “Why don’t you have faith?” Instead he challenges them to consider, “In what have you placed your faith? In the sounds of chaos or in the promises of the Prince?”

Now, this same Prince of Peace also promises there are trials and hardships in this life. He doesn’t always prevent the storms, but He never abandons us to them. He is at rest in the midst of the chaos because He is with us and He knows we will get through it.

However, He is not dispassionate about our circumstances. When the disciples cried out, Jesus got up and calmed the waves and the wind. “And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.” (Luke‬ ‭8:24‬) Likewise, even though we can trust Him to get us “to the other side,” we can also call to Him in the midst of the crisis and watch how He brings a calm. Sometimes it comes through an idea for intervention. Sometimes by an unexpected change in our loved one’s mood. Sometimes by prompting us to remove ourselves from the situation.

As we set out to journey into this new year, may the Prince of Peace reign in our hearts always—no matter the storm, no matter the chaos, no matter the uncertainties. And may we hold fast to the the promise He gave long before our journey even began: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)


See also: Perfect Peace

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