“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
I still remember the moment I fell in love with hiking. It wasn’t the climb up the mountain with its twists and turns and seemingly never-ending trails. Nor was it the sandy dirt that found its way (mysteriously) into the crevices of my toes and the underside of my foot. I wouldn’t say the beating heat of the sun had anything to do with it either. No—more than the actual experience of traveling up the mountainside it was the destination I came to at the journey’s end. It was a fairly small expanse enclosed under a canopy of trees. Under the shade of the leaves on the large rock I planted myself on, I listened to the gentle trickle of water running nearby. I heard the rustle of leaves against the wind and the chatter of animals hiding in bushes. And it was in that moment that I felt it grasp me: peace.
It was the harmony of that grove, the cohesion of all its different components functioning just as it was supposed to that brought upon this sense of calm. I believe that the peace of God is a little something like that.
When the Bible declares Jesus to be the Prince of Peace, it’s doing more than throwing a title onto the one known as God’s son; the Word is revealing a key component of how Jesus functions. The Prince of Peace came to this earth with the Gospel of Peace, for the mission of peace.
So what is peace?
Sometimes when we hear “peace”, our minds automatically conjure images of people meditating or the rearrangement of furniture to attain that perfect feng shui. In the midst of calamity and chaos, we employ “big inhale, slow exhale” techniques to bring us back to a state of mental/emotional balance. Or maybe your methods aren’t so theatrical; maybe all it takes for you is a drive around the neighborhood for half an hour, give or take some time. Whatever the vice, too often we believe that if we try hard enough, we ourselves can bear peace. But peace isn’t something we produce, it’s something attained while resting at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus says in the gospel of John, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The peace of God, His shalompeace, is more than a mindset; it’s more than any feeling contrived from within ourselves. It’s the spiritual reality of our completion in God. And this spiritual reality gives us the power to transcend any physical circumstance.
In college, finals season was probably the most stressful time of the year. It seemed as though the exams would never end, that no matter how much I typed, I would never reach the minimum page limit required on my papers. The anxiety ate away at me, the countless amounts of Red Bull and caffeine I consumed no longer held any potency—I felt doomed. But then, out of nowhere, it would creep up on me: the end. With the final click of the mouse or unintelligible scribble in my Blue Book, I was done. And just like that, I would feel an instantaneous flood of calm wash over me.
It wasn’t that all finals ceased to be. For many others, the stress of the season was still very real. There were still kids staying up all night in the library and still more barely functioning in their normal routines. But what changed for me was where I placed myself in the midst of such circumstances. All that negativity no longer bore any effect on me because I was finished.
When Jesus died on that cross, it was finished. When He resurrected from the grave, death lost its sting. Like any other prince or king, Christ conquered. He conquered over our sinfulness, our brokenness, our wretchedness, and our poverty. He looked death straight in the face and claimed His victory. The tribulations talked about in John 16:33 no longer bear any effect on us.
By overcoming the world, Jesus restores our sinful selves to perfect relationship with the Father. Like our sister Jackie wrote in “The Mediator” post, we are reconciled to God by the power of Jesus’ blood. Where sin left us broken and empty, Christ fixes our hearts, filling us with a new identity through His perfect love. Kind of like that grove I mentioned in the beginning, we’re brought back into harmony with God; creation is free to follow the orchestrations of the Creator’s perfect will once again. We were made with such intention and purpose; I can’t stress how much of a detailed god, God actually is. He’s mapped out our every step so that each one we take is filled with joy, so that it’s placed right next to His own. Just as a fish made to swim in water is not fully content until it’s free in the ocean, we will never be fully content until we kneel at the feet of Jesus, hearts full of worship. It’s only when we step into the reclaimed identity as God’s children, when we walk in this freedom of worship that the fruit of peace is born.
It looks like Jesus in Luke 8. While the disciples are panicking because they believe their boat will capsize under the violent tossing of the waves, Jesus continues to sleep. It’s only when the disciples, in their fear, shake Him awake that Jesus gets up. When, after rebuking the wind and waves, the calm settles over the sea, I believe the calm Jesus commands is a direct reflection of the deep sense of peace in His own heart. Both the disciples and Jesus were experiencing the storm, but only Jesus believed they would live through it. You see, He knew that the storm was not the way He was going to die; He knew that His purpose on the earth differed from what the moment was dictating at the time. Jesus never forgot He was the Son of God.
At times, it’ll be easy for us to forget who we are. Because we weren’t the ones that paid the price, it’s easy to underplay the full extent of what Jesus did to get us to where we are. We mistake living in the world as being part of the world and let all of its worries drown us once more. But hold dear to Apostle Paul urgings towardsprayer and thanksgiving. As long as we live on this earth, the storms will not cease to come. But remember the power by which you command the waves.
Photograph above by HD Wallpapers.
Rachel Baik is the Youth Pastor at New Vision Covenant Church. She graduated from New York University with a BS in Public Health. She loves books & film, making jam, and arranging flowers.