Every one of us has so many troubles in this world: family troubles, job troubles, relationship troubles, health troubles. It seems as if we have so many troubles simmering on the back burners of our minds that it's a miracle that we can keep our lives "cooking" at the right temperature without something boiling over!
Add on to our personal troubles all the troubles besetting the world right now and we can feel as if our heads are exploding. Economic instability. Lack of jobs. Political polarization. ISIS terrorist attacks. Hungry, homeless refugees, some of whom may be terrorists. Wars, famine, and disease in various countries. Natural disasters, and the specter of climate change causing even more disasters.
How can we find peace in this world? We can't find peace in this world. We need to look within us to find peace.
Peace is knowing, deep down, that God is living and loving in our hearts. God is saying "I love you, you personally. I know you through and through - all your talents, all your struggles, all your anxieties, all your hurts. I know your physical and emotional illnesses that you may have inherited genetically from your parents. I know the tragedies and deaths that live on in your memory. I know the family struggles that you replay in many of your other relationships. But, you know what? I knew the whole package you'd become when I created you. I loved you enough to bring you into this world. I'll always love you. So love yourself, will you? I am always at work in your life. If you listen to Me, I will inspire you in the ways you should go. Just trust Me. In trusting Me, you'll find Peace."
God living and loving in us also reminds us of the vast, unfathomable truth that all people are God's children, that God loves every single one of them as much as He loves each of us. We all have the same Father. And so our thoughts, concerns, and prayers need to stretch around and embrace the peoples of the entire world. If our prayers are too small, our concept of "family" is too small. If our prayers ask for too little, and concern only us and our small frame of reference, much in this world will not be accomplished.
It's amazing how embracing all people as God's people can change our perspective. The truth becomes more multifaceted. If, for example, part of the truth is that terrorists may be hiding out among refugees, another part of the truth is that ISIS is angry at those refugees for leaving Syria and wants to have revenge by turning the world against them, and another part of the truth is that we need to find practical, realistic ways to care for these refugees while respecting our country's need for security....
We have to take their plight seriously, in other words. Knowing and accepting one part of the multifaceted truth is not enough. Because they are our brothers and sisters. The God of both the Old and the New Testaments embraces the homeless, the hungry, the refugee. In fact, World Peace depends on all nations doing the work of justice - and justice is care for all God's people. But how can we accomplish this? How can we solve this crisis?
In the world of our personal lives, and in the international life of the world, there are so many seemingly insoluble problems. Yet God reminds us that in Jesus the Christ, God has overcome the world. Jesus Who listened to everyone reminds us that listening, sharing information from many sources and perspectives can lead to sane, compassionate solutions for us and for the world. Denial, thinking with blinders on, and stubbornly holding on to "our way or else" accomplishes nothing but continuing to do things the same way that never worked before.
The Holy Spirit of God is the Unifier, the One Who sets us on fire with creative thinking! God will personally lead all of us us to find the best solutions to our and the world's problems if we listen actively and act courageously. God promises that He will! God promises that perfect love casts out fear. If we can overcome fear through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nothing will be impossible for God Who works through us, in us, and with us.
We can find inner peace if we recognize this: if God knew the whole package we'd become before He created us, God also knew the "whole package" the world would become when He created the beautiful complexity of our living planet, the wonderful diversity of species, the splendid beauty of so many races and cultures. If we trust God to care for each of us personally, we can trust God to take care of His world personally. But, as we need to continually pray and work for ourselves, so we each need to pray and work for the world. It's a small world, after all! Technology has brought us literally to each other's doorstep. May the wonderful power of prayer bring us over the doorstep, through the door, and into every world citizen's heart!