Romans 3: “I’m Looking for Peace, Have You Seen It?”

Nestled among Paul’s argument that people are sinful, but God is faithful, sits a quote Paul used from Isaiah 59. Here it is as Paul uses it:

Romans 3:15-17 (NLT) 15 “They rush to commit murder.
16     Destruction and misery always follow them.
17 They don’t know where to find peace.”

This is taken from the section where Paul is referring to the power of sin in peoples lives.

I don’t know what it was about verse 17, but today it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve heard and even described sin in many different ways, but it hit me yet again; people walking in darkness are searching for light, just sometimes it’s the wrong light. They simply don’t know where to find peace.

Isaiah described it this way:

Isaiah 59:7-8 (NLT) Their feet run to do evil,
    and they rush to commit murder.
They think only about sinning.
    Misery and destruction always follow them.
They don’t know where to find peace
    or what it means to be just and good.
They have mapped out crooked roads,
    and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.

There have been times in my life when I have followed behind the person who was mapping out crooked roads. It’s exhausting! It seems as if there is no rest, no peace, not a moment at times to even collect your thoughts. I just can’t stop picturing a frantic friend searching their entire spiritual house looking for peace. I know it’s hear somewhere. I seriously saw it, I know it’s gotta be here. Help me. Look with me. Have you seen it? Seen what? Peace! I’m looking for peace, but I can’t seem to find it!

An unknown author tells a story of finding peace:

The Picture of Peace

There was once a king who offered a prize to the
artist who could paint the best picture of peace.

Many artists tried. The king looked at all of the
pictures. After much deliberation he was down to
the last two. He had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a
perfect mirror for the peaceful mountains that
towered around it. Overhead, fluffy white clouds
floated in a blue sky. Everyone who saw this
picture said that it was the perfect picture of
peace.

The second picture had mountains too. These
mountains were rugged and bare. Above was an angry
gray sky from which rain fell. Lightening flashed.

Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming
waterfall. This did not appear to be a peaceful
place at all.

But, when the king looked closely, he saw that
behind the waterfall was a tiny bush growing
in the rock. Inside the bush, a mother
bird had built her nest.

There, in the midst of the rush of angry water,
sat the mother bird on her nest.

She was the perfect picture of peace.

The king chose the second picture. “Because,” he
explained, “peace is not only in a place where
there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.

Peace is in the midst of things as they are,
when there is calm in your heart.

That is the real meaning of
peace.”

While ideally we desire to always have the quiet moments of peace, the truth is, peace needs to be pointed out to us. When I think about the connection between the scripture and the story, this is what I think. I think we have both the opportunity to experience peace in the midst of chaos, as well as the responsibility to point others towards the same peace. While lost friends, family, and co-workers search frantically for peace, not knowing where to find it, let us point them to the peace that only God can bring.

This is exactly what Paul is saying in Romans 3: All of us at one time or another have searched for peace, but didn’t know where to find it. For some, we found it quite early in life, for others, they’re still searching, but either way, God has made a way for us all to experience true peace. Let me leave you with this challenge.

Challenge

Romans 10:14 (NLT) But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

We have many “little birds” in our lives searching for peace. When you have the opportunity, point them to that spot under the waterfall. Show them how to get there. It’s there that Jesus will meet with them and show them it’s a perfectly safe place to be. It’s there they will find true peace.