Due to recent events in my life, I've been feeling a little like the waves constantly lapping at the shore - in motion
or at unrest.
I know the sounds of the ocean usually bring a feeling of peace, but .... not if you're in
the water.... :)
Anyway... This feeling of unrest has brought on a bunch of thoughts and ponderings to me as I've tried to figure out why I feel like this. Well... To be honest, I know why I feel like this, and I know what I need to do to be at peace again, but that's a different topic, for a different day.
I chose today's topic, "The Doctrine of Peace
" because I want to try to understand in a bit more depth how peace comes.
First, a question for the doctrine of peace. Where does peace come from? There exists a vast number of discourses
on the topic, and most of them have many common threads. One common thread is found in the book of John
which states the well-known explanation that Jesus gives us peace which is not of this world. That is definitely true.
But, I can pretty much guarantee that every person who asks for peace in the name of Christ doesn't necessarily receive it. As the scripture states, peace is Christ's to give
, not for us to take.
So, what's the trick? How do we really receive the gift of peace? Personally, I believe there is a lot that goes into the details of this answer, but can be quite simply summed up by the following statement:
Peace is a result of our following Jesus to the best of our ability, and in so doing, trusting in Him beyond the circumstances of our lives.
I give you a personal example.
When had been home from my mission a couple of years, I was ready to get married. Boy, oh boy, was I ready. I was the type of guy who knew who he was gonna marry, and was gonna get to it right after my mission. Well... Things didn't pan out that way.
Five years passed, and I had finally found the woman of my dreams. I asked her to marry me and we had a date set. Things were going quite well for us, until I had an interview with my stake president for my temple recommend renewal.
For a reason no other bishop, nor stake president had ever revoked my recommend before, this stake president deemed it necessary to revoke mine, at that time.
I had the interview during work hours, and I was so disturbed, upset, befuddled, and confused after the interview that I didn't even bother going back to work.
I went right home, walked down to my room, and just stood there. While I was standing there, I realized that because of that decision, I would not be able to get married at the time my fiance and I had set. As my breathing steadily grew deeper and faster, I felt the impression to kneel down and pray.
Now, before I continue on with the story, I've got to explain what you can probably imagine was going on in my head at that moment.
I honestly believed that Stake Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were inspired from God.
If God tells one president "yes" under ceratin circumstances, he should tell them all "yes", for the same circumstance, right? Well... I could not understand why this had happened to me. I was doubting God and my testimony of what I had learned from what I believed to be His church. My journal entry that day states "...I was hit harder with that interview than I ever was in my life. It shook the roots of my testimony...
So, with that going on in my head, I had to decide whether to continue doubting, or kneel down, as I always had, and get my answers from God.
After about 30 seconds of frustration, trying to figure out in my head what I should do, I groaned and knelt down. I then told God what I was thinking, and quickly thereafter, midst all the ramifications of what the stake president had said and done...
I felt peace.
Even though I knew I wasn't gonna get married at the time I had planned, even though nothing of the events of the day had made sense, and even though at the time I was standing there deliberating, the only dominant feeling inside me was amazingly intense internal contention, I felt peace
. And nothing else mattered.
I honestly believe that peace came because of the trust I had in God. I manifested that trust by kneeling down, even though everything inside me at the time was quickly persuading me that everything I had learned about God was wrong. I honestly believe the only way God could have blown all of the negativity away was by doing exactly what He did do - He gave me an immense, immediate, overpowering peace
which drowned out everything else I had going on in me.
Though an immediate understanding and resolution of the episode with the stake president didn't come until years later, the peace God gave me at that moment was such an overwhelming power, it has become a beacon in my life which attests to the truthfulness of God's love, among many, many other doctrines.
There is a scripture
which talks about signs and faith. In this experience, the sign was the immense peace I was given. The faith I had was the action of actually kneeling down and praying (the difficulty of which, at the time, is impossible to describe), and because of this - that experience caused my faith to grow moreso in one minute than any other day in my life.
Another interesting tidbit about peace, which is nothing more than my own personal beliefs, is that Satan cannot reproduce his counterfeit version of peace.
tells us what the fruits of the Spirit are.
Can Satan counterfeit love? You bet. Look at all the promiscuity of today and people bouncing between lovers. The feeling of physical excitement could easily be interpreted to be "love". In fact, Satan can pretty much counterfeit any emotion of "fruit" of the spirit.... except peace.
is: "freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity."
I personally cannot think of anything in this world which even comes close to a state of lasting Godly peace given by Jesus Christ to those who keep his commandments.
I know what I need to get it, and to keep it, so.... I've gotta do it.
Now, what about those who claim they are "at peace
", yet seem to live wicked lives, or at least lives which are void of the principles which bring peace?
My only answer is this:
You'll never know what "peace in Christ" feels like until you receive it yourself.
That's about the size of it. You can "do okay", or "feel pretty good", or "do just fine" in your life, but, coming from one who has done both, I can honestly say:
Feeling "peace in Christ" beats the snot out of "doing just fine" any day of the week.