Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O God Our Help In Ages Past"1 (Lyrics)
John 20:19 – Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." (NKJV)
As this is the day when we remember those fallen for peace and those involved in the search for peace in different places, we realize how elusive peace is — personal peace at times, and world peace almost always.
The word "peace" has been used a great deal during the last number of years. Every time we turn on the television, we hear people talking about peace in places where there are wars and uprisings: in the Middle East, in Syria in particular, and in a number of African countries as well. There are a lot of negotiations, but there does not seem to be a lasting peace.
How well I remember May the fifth, 1945, when Canadian soldiers liberated the Dutch people. Dutch flags were out everywhere for the first time in five years. People were out in the streets, the sun was shining, there was peace at last. But it did not last very long. Within two years, the Dutch army was involved in a war in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and soon, there were wars in the Middle East, in India, and in Korea. Peace on earth seems very elusive, and we have come to the realization that peace is not a period between two wars but rather a feeling within ourselves, a feeling in our hearts.
The disciples were in quite a state when they were gathered in the upper room. Their friend had been crucified, and the authorities were after them. They sat and wondered what to do next. Some of them were ready to go back home. And suddenly, Jesus was with them, and they heard those wonderful words, "Peace be with you."
And we, too — sometimes we doubt and worry; sometimes we have a feeling of anguish in our hearts. We sit and wonder, or we lie in bed and worry, and we pray about it, or we go to church to worship, or we pick up the Bible and read those wonderful words, "Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NKJV) Or we hear Jesus' words, "Peace be with you."
Before one war is over, another one has started. There seems to be no end to it, and we have learned nothing from history; there is no lasting peace. But inner peace is for all of us to have and to hold through faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We know that the triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — is our source of lasting peace, and then, it does not matter what might happen in our lives, for we can be at peace through faith, and we will have peace in our hearts.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we ask that You would speak to those who have the political power to bring about peace in the world. We pray that they will seek Your will in all the decisions they make. We also pray for those who are struggling in a personal way, and we ask for peace in our hearts. Amen.