By Luther Blackmon
“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7)
I like to lie in bed on stormy nights and listen to the rain beat on the roof and the wind moan through the trees outside. I think the reason I like this is because it gives me a feeling of security, or safety, to be protected from the elements. But this same storm that gives me a feeling of satisfaction and well-being may mean the death of another man somewhere. In like manner, the same tensions, heartaches, hardships, vicissitudes and uncertainties of life that are driving millions to seek escape in alcohol, dope, and the marts of sinful pleasure, are bringing others closer to God. When the pressures of living in this modern world are too much for the flesh alone, the faithful Christian finds a refuge in the promises of God. “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things, (material) shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 11:28-30; 6:33).
Many millions of dollars are being spent every year to maintain some semblance of peace in this turbulent world. In my humble opinion, the time is not far distant when the world will be thrown into a holocaust that will destroy civilization (?) as we know it. My reasons for this opinion are two: (1) From the strictly human side, it seems to me that two ideologies as antagonistic as those represented by the United States and Soviet Russia cannot long survive together in a peaceful world. Somebody is bound to get trigger-happy one of these days and set the fuse. It just isn’t human to have a new gun and not want to shoot it, and both sides in this affair are armed with every means of destruction that human wisdom can invent, (2) Looking through the eyes of the Old Testament prophets as they pronounced the everlasting doom of such ancient nations as Egypt, Syria, Assyria, Babylon and the Northern Kingdom of Israel because of their sins, it seems unlikely that He will continue to put up with this vaunted display of human wisdom and idolatrous worship of man’s achievements, to say nothing of the blasphemous disregard for decency and righteousness that is causing the nations to rot inside.
But whether he lives in quiet surroundings or in circumstances that strike fear to the hearts of brave men, the faithful child of God will have an inward peace that the world, and the half-hearted Christian can neither have nor understand. He is not terrified by the thought that the Russians might drop a bomb and destroy the city where he lives. If his doctor should tell him today that he has but a few months to live, after the shock of the news had passed, he would face it as calmly as one “who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.” He likes to live, but he is prepared to die. And whether in life or in death, he will glorify God. Whether in sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, whether his time be months or many years, he will be grateful and will use it as a sacred trust. In this man’s heart will abide the “peace of God that passeth understanding.”
But this kind of peace does not come to the Christian who is so busy in the pursuit of “things” that his heart has become a spiritual refrigerator, and the church is only a “place” where he comes for one hour each week to be “served” the Lord’s supper. I wish some of the members of the church could be made to realize what a mistake they made when they traded the “Peace of God” for a piece of the world that they can’t keep for very long, and that will be burned up when the day of the Lord comes. (Written Feb. 12, 1961)
Truth Magazine, XVIII:31, p. 11-12
June 6, 1974