This is Part 1 of 5 parts answering the question, “Can there be peace in a world filled with suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-5 will be posted on succeeding days.
Can there be peace in a world of suffering? The presence of trials and hardships likely excludes the concept of peace for most people. The presence of trials would indicate just the opposite of peace, that is, turmoil, consternation, exasperation and instability. Yet, the Lord Jesus describes that there can be peace in the world when He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJ) So His peace is different than the world’s peace. How is His peace different than the peace of the world?
Define Peace from God’s Perspective
We need to define God’s peace. Normally people define peace as the absence of turmoil or war or confusion or stated positively, the presence of order and harmony. There is truth to that, but God’s peace resides in the spiritual, soulish realm, not only in the physical environment. Consider that the Lord Jesus always had peace, so it must be defined in a way that Jesus would have had it in all situations.
It’s easy to define peace when everything around you is going well and the way you want it. However, what about when there is chaos, confusion and consternation? What about when Jesus was persecuted by the Roman Soldiers? What about when Jesus was nailed to the cross? What about when Jesus hung on the cross and bore the sins of the world? He still had peace, because He was always filled with the Spirit and bore the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace,…”
So when you define peace to satisfy every situation, the definition becomes spiritually powerful. Peace in that perspective means a “spiritual calm that God is in control.” God is sovereign over the universe and His peace gives the believer a calm in the soul that nothing catches Him by surprise and nothing is out of His control. When Jesus cried out, He entrusted Himself to the Father, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” When He said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” He said it in hyperbole, so that we could understand that He was true humanity and the Father had to separate Himself from Christ (in some spiritual way), because Jesus was made sin (2 Cor. 5:21 ). Moments later, Jesus said, “It is finished!” and “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Furthermore, we know this because the Holy Spirit sustained Him on the cross, “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God,” (Heb. 9:14 NKJ)
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.