At times I feel that we have “Sunday schooled” Christianity – sunshine and rainbows where everything is good and Jesus magically solves all of our problems. While Jesus has come to bring us abundant new life, this reality is incomplete. In this world, the end isn’t always happy. In this world, terrible things still happen.
Last week we looked at how knowledge can be dangerous, and this week I want to look at how God wants something greater for us than just increased knowledge. The answer can feel like a Sunday school answer, which can feel trivial, but when we view it through the tragic reality of this world, its power is undeniable. This is what Paul says in Philippians:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 4-7
Paul is saying that God will give us a peace that is greater than knowledge. One commentator says this about the peace that Paul is referring to:
“the peace of soul produced by God… the repose and satisfaction of the mind in God’s counsel and love, whereby all inward discord, doubt, and variance are excluded such as expressed e.g. in Romans 8:18; Romans 8:28.”
In a world where loved ones die unexpectedly; in a world where people exploit and abuse people just to make an extra dollar; in a world where rape, pedophilia, and addiction are widespread, we need peace. Yes, Jesus has and continues to change lives and bring real healing into this world, but even for those who belong to Jesus, our lives can end in chaos and destruction with relationships left unreconciled. Sometimes there is too much pain to rely on sunshine and rainbows, or trite sayings, or increased knowledge. We need the peace that comes from an all-powerful conquering king.
God will one day create a new heaven and new earth free of the mar of death and destruction. We can be confident in this because Jesus rose from the dead conquering death and destruction. We can trust in God’s plan to restore all things and reconcile us back to him. Only this can bring us peace.
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33