The War Within
Martin Luther King, Jr. rallied for peace in the world, but what about the peace, or lack thereof, within ourselves?
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an advocate for peace. About a year before his assassination, the famous civil rights activist gave one of his most famous speeches entitled “A Time to Break Silence,” which outlined reasons the United States should withdraw from the Vietnam War. Ultimately, he longed to see a world at peace — peace within our borders and beyond.
While peace between individuals, and certainly nations, is imperative to life as we know it, many people forget about the importance of finding peace within ourselves. For some, though, acquiring a peace with the life that we’ve been given can seem as much a lost cause as a world without the war that King rallied against.
Not having inner peace can make everyday life difficult, can’t it? Being satisfied and having peace within ourselves is imperative to being healthy in our mind, body and spirit, yet many of us live without it on a daily basis. We stay wrapped up in and toil with decisions that need to be made, decisions that we made previously that we regret and being generally fearful of the unknown in life.
Oftentimes, it can seem as if everyone around us is living in perfect harmony even as we are at war within ourselves. This feeling is not easy to carry and, as I get older, I find that it is much harder to put on a happy face and hide when I am not at peace. This realization is why it becomes increasingly imperative that I make sure I am walking daily with God. I have learned, as have many others, that true peace within myself can ultimately only be found in Him.
Jesus promises in John 16:33 that “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Having peace when things are going great in our lives is easy, but it takes something very special to be at ease when we face struggles. Learning to be at peace during the difficult times is exponentially important because they will inevitably come. Of course, being at ease during the ordeals of life doesn’t mean we are happy to be facing them. It simply means that we are confident in the fact that God has already overcome them for us.
Philippians 4:6-7 gives us the keys to achieving this peace when it says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The only true way to achieve a lasting sense of peace is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible makes clear that the peace He offers is so perfect we won’t be able to understand it. This lack of understanding, however, doesn’t matter. All we have to do is trust Him and receive it. He has us in the palm of his hand in our best and worst moments: when we have everything figured out, and when we don’t.
We can rest easy.
As a Christian, Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that peace among people should be the ultimate goal. If everyone could find the true peace of God within themselves, that goal could easily become a reality. No matter what we are dealing with we have the power, through God, to end the war within ourselves.