By Mike Riley
A reporter once asked President Herbert Hoover, “Mr. President, how do you handle criticism? Do you ever get agitated or tense?” “No,” President Hoover replied, seemingly surprised at the question, “of course not.”
The reporter continued, “when I was a boy you were one of the most popular men in the world. Then, for a while you became one of the most unpopular, with nearly everyone against you. Didn’t any of this meanness and criticism ever get under your skin?”
The President replied, “No, I knew when I went into politics what I might expect, so when it came, I wasn’t disappointed or upset.” Then he lowered his familiar bushy eyebrows, looked directly into the reporter’s eyes and added, “Besides, I have peace at the center, you know.”
This “peace at the center” is one of the greatest blessings of the Christian life. The Apostle Paul wrote of this peace. He called it, “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Because of sin, we are enemies of God. James states, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The most wonderful news of all, is that because of His love for us, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sin, making available the means for us to be reconciled to God (Romans 5:10). We are reconciled to God through Christ when, by faith (Hebrews 11:6), we repent of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess Christ before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38).
Having accepted the terms of God’s peace, we can rejoice in our reconciliation with God through Christ (Romans 5:1). Only then are we are able to have peace with others and peace within ourselves. Jesus tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).
Sacred song writer Edward H. Bickersteth, beautifully summarized the wonderful peace Christians have in Christ with these descriptive words:
“Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin: The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.“
Do we have “peace at the center” that comes only through the saving blood of Christ?