I remember watching a commercial when I was a child. It showed a mom coming home from the grocery store, arms full of bags which toppled and spilled as she placed them on the counter; kids pulling on her shirt to help them with homework; and a husband coming in wondering when dinner will be ready all while she bends down to pick up the groceries which have spilled onto the floor. The scene freezes and she mutters “Calgon, take me away.” Then another scene emerges with a woman at the office, papers getting handed to her while she tries to answer phones and wait on customers; all the while her boss is yelling at her from his own office. Again the scene freezes and she mutters “Calgon, take me away.” The commercial may have been for bubble bath, but the Calgon advertisers were selling peace. Marketing companies had picked up on a deep desire in every heart to find peace in the midst of life’s chaos. But true peace cannot be found in a bath tub. Temporary tranquility perhaps, but not peace. After all, pruned fingers and toes will not solve our problems. And soft skin will not smooth over our struggles. So where do we find true peace?
Lack of peace can lead to a lot of undesirable consequences in our lives. Making mistakes is one of them. Just take a look at Moses in the bible. He was so frustrated with the people of Israel for grumbling about food and water that he lacked peace. As a result, he made a huge mistake. The Lord had told him to speak to the rock in front of the people and tell it to bring forth water. Because Moses lacked peace, he acted out of frustration. “And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly.” (Numb 20:11) The results of this mistake were far-reaching. “And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe in Me, to uphold Me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (Num 20:12) Do you have people in your life that bring you to the border of frustration instead of peace?
Lack of peace can also lead to making wrong decisions. Joshua led the people of Israel to victory as they conquered city after city in the Promised Land. In their focus and drive toward victory, however, the elders failed to do one very important thing when approached by strangers looking to make a treaty with them – they failed to inquire of the Lord who had specifically told them not to make treaties with the inhabitants of the land. The Gibeonites deceived the men of Israel into thinking they were not inhabitants of the Promised Land. As a result, the Israelites made a decision which was contrary to what God desired. So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. (Joshua 9:14, 16) Can you relate to Joshua? Have you ever been so focused on doing something for God that your forgot to seek His counsel when it came time to make an important decision?
Without peace we can give in to emotions that do not honor God. Take the prophet Jonah as a good example. He had a close, personal relationship with God. Yet when God asked him to preach repentance to a group of people that Jonah felt did not deserve God’s mercy, Jonah became angry. When God saw what they(the Ninevites) did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He had said he would do to them, and He did not do it. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. (Jonah 3:10-4:1) Jonah had no peace with God’s decision because Jonah disliked the Ninevites exceedingly. His lack of peace with God’s treatment of these people led to a prophet of God being known for his anger. I’m sure we can all relate to Jonah. I know in my life there have been times when I lacked agreement with how God handled a situation and my emotions showed it.
Finally, without peace we can easily be led into sin. At a time when kings were supposed to be at war, King David remained in Jerusalem. He was restless and without peace. So he couldn’t sleep. One night he decided to walk around on the roof of the palace and as a result he saw a woman bathing. One thing led to another and David committed adultery with Bathsheba. I can certainly think of a few times in my life when restlessness led me down a sinful path that was anything but peaceful.
Perhaps you can identify with the situations some of our favorite bible characters faced. A lack of peace can cause us to make mistakes and bad decisions. When we don’t believe God or ask His counsel before choices are made, we are forfeiting the privilege Jesus purchased for us on the cross. When we give in to unhealthy emotions or let lack of peace lead to restlessness and possibly sin, we are not taking full advantage of the amazing relationship we have with the Prince of Peace. Jesus said. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) A foundation of peace is a gift from God. We cannot have it on our own. It cannot be found in a bubble bath no matter how tranquil that may seem. But we can have it when we soak our souls in the love of Jesus every time the chaos of the world chafes our spirit.