Like most people, you may yearn for serenity in the midst of conflict. But what price are you willing to pay for such peace?
For many persons, the cost is too high. The grudges they bear are too precious to surrender. It would be too great a sacrifice to give up complaining. They enjoy these more than peace!
“Do you mean I’m supposed to be happy when my husband treats me the way he does?” a woman asked tearfully. It was true that her life was one of tribulation. Yet if God is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4), He gives comfort in tribulation. If you as a Christian have no more peace in a trying circumstance than the non-Christian does, then you must, like the non-Christian, battle by wit or will power to free yourself. Happiness will depend on your ability to stay on top, therefore you must always keep up your guard.
Does being peaceful mean that you cannot resist your circumstances, or even the people who oppose you? No. Peace is not a state of unity between you and another person. Peace lies within you. You may feel for the Lord’s sake that you must resist someone who is making unjust demands on you. If you can resist without being a furious or crafty person, you can have peace while resisting.
A man who is out of his head may attack you as if you were his worst enemy. In your effort to control his actions you do not have to consider him your enemy. You might even have to hit a drowning person hard on the chin to save him and yourself. But you would not be hitting back in anger.
It is the same in dealing with a rebellious child, or a marriage partner who subverts your standards. Resistance may be called for. But unless you can enjoy inner peace while engaging in the outer conflict, you had better postpone the resistance until first you take care of your own problem.
Surrender your anger, your closely guarded bitterness, your selfish maneuvering. Let God put within you the fruit of His Spirit. Then with His peace as the wellspring of your emotions, face the troublesome world around you.