Peace in the Midst of Chaos

by Jack Moraine

Luke 2:14 (NIV)
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
How many of you really like going to the mall and fighting through the crowds during the Christmas season?  The mall scene is hardly the picture of peace conjured up by the phrase "Peace on earth, good will toward men."

In a typical year, our homes are no less chaotic. They’re kind of a cross between a decorating marathon and a bed and breakfast. There are groceries to be bought, presents to wrap, lights to drape, wreaths to hang, and it all has to be done in the midst of kid's school presentations, parties, and a few obligatory office bashes.

Again, hardly the picture conjured up by the phrase "Peace on earth, good will toward men."

In fact, it's not understated to say the holidays, rather than producing peace, more often produce large amounts of stress in our lives. The nature of our culture’s Christmas celebration tends to undermine the peace process in the private places of our hearts.

But actually, pictures of chaos are closer to the reality of how things really were in the stable the night Jesus was born. Mary and Joseph found themselves in Bethlehem and because of the census the Roman emperor had ordered, Bethlehem would have been three to four times its normal size.  A hustle and bustle of crowded streets outside the no-vacancy inn, a stable filled with cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, and who knows what else. If that mental picture seems chaotic – it is.

Hardly the picture conjured up by the phrase "Peace on earth, good will toward men."

Yet, maybe that's our problem—we've been looking for peace in all the wrong pictures. Maybe we’ve been looking for peace in all the wrong places.

Jesus came to be peace in the midst of chaos, not to create peace through reorganizing our chaos.

If you're hoping that God will reorganize your circumstances and bring order to your chaos, you may be disappointed.  Too often, that’s what we’re hoping He will do. We would rather He change our circumstances than change us.

Because most of us believe that the only way to experience peace is to have the chaos in our life reordered to the place where we feel secure and in control again. After all, how can you have peace when you don’t have control?

God’s peace works very differently. His peace is a gift we receive as we surrender control of our lives to Him.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

Would you take a few moments to meditate on these words of Jesus in John 14:27? Read them slowly, or better yet speak them aloud three times, and as you do, imagine that Jesus, is speaking these words directly to you. (Because in reality, He is!).

Reflection & Practice:

Where are the places in your life where you don’t have peace? Where are you anxious and feel things are beyond your control?
  • Tell Jesus about this and listen for anything he wants to say to you.
  • Verbalize to Jesus that you are surrendering your need for control. As best you can give him the things, over which you do not have peace.
  • Wait in the presence of the Lord and receive the peace of Christ. Verbalize to Jesus, “I receive your peace for (name the thing(s) you’ve just surrendered to him).