THE PROBLEM of human strife is as old as man. It had its beginning on the outskirts of Eden when Cain, driven by envy, murdered his more devout brother, Abel. Men fought then as now: primarily because strife was inherent in their natures.
Jesus spoke prophetically of our times when He said: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars . . . nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . .” (Matthew 24:6–7).
Someone has pointed out that over the past 4,000 years there have been fewer than 300 years of peace. Yet one wonders, was that universal peace? It is more likely that down through history there has always been a war, or wars, in various parts of the world. Even the most optimistic person is forced to admit that there is something seriously wrong with a world that has such a passion for destruction.
If a man were sent from Mars to report earth’s major business, he would in all fairness have to say that war was the earth’s chief industry. He would report that the nations of the world were vying with each other in a race to see which could make deadlier weapons and amass bigger nuclear arsenals. He would say that earth’s people are too quarrelsome to get along with each other and too selfish to live peacefully together.
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, who supervised the creation of the first atomic bomb, was asked to appear before a congressional committee. They asked him if there was any defense against this awesome new weapon of war. “Certainly,” the great physicist replied.
“And that is—,” someone asked.
The audience awaited the answer in subdued silence. “Peace,” the eminent scientist replied softly.
The Search for Peace
But why is it that after these thousands of years of life on this planet we are no nearer peace than were the warring tribes of ancient history?
The world is desperately searching for peace. There are millions of people who would gladly give their right arms to find it. They would like to have peace—deep, inward, satisfying peace.
They also yearn for peace in our world—freedom from conflict and war, freedom from the hatred and strife which divide families and communities, and freedom from fear of the future, wondering when a computer will malfunction or a maniacal dictator will place his finger on the nuclear or biochemical button and wipe out civilization as we know it.
The world thinks peace would come if everyone made a lot of money, but people haven’t found peace in possessions. They have thought the world would have peace if all arms were destroyed. Yet Cain killed Abel without a handgun. It is man’s heart that is the problem.
Some thought peace could be found in a bottle, but they didn’t find it there. It was an artificial peace, frequently leading to death. They thought one would find it in getting and accumulating a lot of knowledge, so they got all the degrees they could get, but still didn’t find it. Some have searched the religions of the world, even exotic and mind-warping cults, but haven’t found peace even there.
There are a thousand ways we’ve turned, trying to find peace, but we haven’t found it. We’ve escaped from reality for a few moments, for a few hours, and then it’s back there—the old burden, the old suffering, the old emptiness, the old monotony, the old grind. Jesus Christ is the only One who can give “the peace that passeth all understanding.”
The simple fact is: There can be no real peace in the world until we have peace with God.
The motto of the Apollo II flight was, “We come in peace for all mankind.” This motto was on the plaque which was left there on the surface of the moon, where the astronauts landed on the Sea of Tranquillity. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin found themselves in a wonderfully peaceful place there on the moon. Do you know why? There had never been any humans there before!
Not long after the development of the atomic bomb, Albert Einstein declared, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our way of thinking. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Later a photographer who had noted the look of immense sadness on Einstein’s face asked him, “So you don’t believe that there will ever be peace?” “No,” the great scientist replied. “As long as there will be man, there will be wars.”
Peace is more than a mere cessation of hostilities, a momentary halt in a hot or cold war. Rather, it is something positive. It is a specific relationship with God into which a person is brought. It is a spiritual reality in a human heart which has come into vital contact with the Infinite God.
The Bible says: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one” (Ephesians 2:13–14).
Billy Graham, The Secret of Happiness (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011).
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