Surrounded by towering pines and hardwoods, I’m safe in the embrace of nature. Its 50 degrees outside in June, so I’m ensconced in three layers of clothing and a warm blanket. The steam from my coffee rises to greet my nose and its heat warms my hands. The birds are singing in the trees and the sun is rising, highlighting the towering mountain in the distance. I could sit on this screened porch in the mountains forever.
But there is a discontent in my heart that disturbs the perfect peace that surrounds me.
Even though I have a beautiful home and a lovely garden and amazing friends in my coastal hometown of Wilmington, NC, I don’t want to live there. I want to live here, in the serene mountains of North Carolina.
My heart longs for the peace that I feel here.
As I take sips of my coffee, I ask God to transfer my husband closer to the mountains. As I listen to last night’s rain dripping off the trees, I think of how to pay off or sell my current home so that I could somehow purchase a vacation home here. I proceed to build my dream home in my mind, complete with rocking chairs on the wrap-around porch. I’ve been watching way too much HGTV!
Why do I do all this? Because there is a passion in me that drives me to pursue peace.
We all crave peace, but have different ways that we satisfy our craving. Some find peace in a long walk on the beach at sunset. Some seek peace in the adrenaline and satisfaction that come through shopping. Some satisfy their longing for peace by eating sugar-laden or deep-fried food. Others find peace through prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol. Many find peace in the approval and admiration of others.
This intense longing for peace drives us. But in our pursuit of peace, we never truly find it. We may get that home in the mountains that we so desperately wanted, but we aren’t happy there. We fill our closets with clothing and shoes and jewelry but there is no fulfillment there. We numb ourselves with food and drugs and alcohol but the next morning we wake up to the same pain, so we do it all over again. And when the sun goes down at the beach, the peace we felt there goes away as soon as our car hits the driveway at home.
We are on a never-ending hamster wheel in an elusive search for peace, but we will always come up empty-handed. The things of the world will never satisfy.
The only place we can find true and lasting peace is God. He alone can satisfy and fulfill that deep longing for peace that consumes us.
How do we find it? In a relationship with God. Not in going to church. Not in feeding the poor. Not in simply being baptized or confirmed. Those things are good, but in and of themselves, they are not enough.
We only find peace when we passionately pursue a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. What does this relationship look like? It looks like spending time reading God’s Word on a regular basis to learn what He’s like. It involves times of talking with God through prayer. Relationship with Him involves worship – being thankful for His gifts and praising Him for who He is.
It is only when we passionately pursue God that we will discover peace. And that peace will not be in nature or shopping or food or substances or people or the beach, but it will be alive in US.
Jesus said, My PEACE I give unto you…(John 14:27)
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, PEACE…(Galatians 5:22)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and PEACE as you trust in Him…(Romans 15:13)
You can find peace in God, not people.
You can find peace in God, not places.
You can find peace in God, not things.
Imagine how satisfied we would be if we would pursue God, who gives a true and lasting peace, and not substitutes that can only give a temporary peace.
My heart still longs for the mountains, but the object of my pursuit will be God. He alone can give me the peace I am searching for.