There are certain words that are used within christian circles meant to communicate a particular mindset or way of living. Peace, joy, trust, love, faith are just a few of these kinds of words. We all know what we mean by these words, right? Or do we?
Consider “peace” for a minute. When you think of peace do you think of quietness? relaxation? calmness? Do you imagine lying in a hammock? Do you imagine total serenity?
Isaiah 26:3 says,
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Perfect peace. Is that peace on steroids? Is it possible to have this peace in the midst of a battle? When you just found out your job has been eliminated? Would such a peace look different from peace on a vacation?
Here’s a question: Does Jesus lack such “perfect peace” when he cries out from the cross, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” If you believe, as I do, that Jesus was sinless and did not cave to human frailties, you might need to re-imagine “perfect peace” and define it in such a way that you can have it and be in utter emotional agony at the same time.
So, if perfect peace is more complex, it stands to reason that joy within sorrow, trust within questions and love without feelings are all quite possible.
How would you define peace in light of the realities of suffering and abuse?