We’re so frustrated with this idea of peace. We’d love to simply click a button and upload all the peace our hearts crave. We long for inner peace, and peace with friends and family, and a peaceful environment to live out our days here on earth. It’s not that simple though since none of us can experience peace apart from having peace with God.
However, there is hope—a way to secure this peace in Jesus Christ.
As I’ve been studying through the book of Isaiah, I’ve picked up on the theme of peace running through his prophetic message. It’s not the dominant theme—God in all his glory and holiness is the theme of Isaiah—however, peace or maybe more accurately the lack of peace is a prominent characteristic of life without God described by the great prophet.
In two separate verses of this monumental work, the Lord trumpets, “There is no peace for the wicked!” (48:22 and 57:21). And in 59:8, God says this about those who are in rebellion to Him and His word: “The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.” In other words, we don’t have peace and don’t live lives of peace. We don’t have it and can’t give it.
But there is Jesus and if we would seek Him first, then peace will follow.
Isaiah declares that King Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and His government and peace will never end (9:6-7). The Lord actually decrees peace for His chosen ones (26:12). He has obtained this peace through His Son’s death—“But [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (53:5). God promises perfect peace to those whose mind is fixed on Him (26:3) and “the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever” (32:17). God’s love is so strong and His covenantal promises are so sure that He is able to honestly say,“…‘the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (54:10). The one who goes around announcing this good news—“who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’— is said to have beautiful feet (52:7).
So what should we do? How can we seek terms of peace with this Holy God, the One we've offended and whose law we have broken? Isaiah, in the very beginning of his prophecy, gives us the solution: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (1:18-20).
Seek Christ and His righteousness first and the peace you’ve struggled for, for so long, will be yours. It's a peace that doesn't cancel out the most painful experiences or challenging people, but it will override the internal torment and enable us in Christ to say, "It is well with my soul."