“As a new ‘House of Wisdom,’ the University shall be a beacon for peace, hope, and reconciliation…” -King Abdullah
“I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.“ – Jesus, the King of kings
Lighthouses have come a long way. From torches and lanterns hanging on wooden and metal poles to solar-powered bulbs shining from within concrete and granite towers. While many of the 19th-century style lighthouses are still standing, advances in technology and civil engineering have inspired quite a few modern versions of these sentinels of the sea. One simple Google search using the words “modern lighthouses” will return images of some pretty incredible and awe-inspiring structures. Take the one pictured above for example. Though it retains the conical shape of typical lighthouses this 21st-century beacon is nothing short of a futuristic work of art.
Built in 2009, this 197 ft. honeycomb obelisk is made from pre-cast hexagonal concrete blocks. It is known as the KAUST Breakwater Beacon and it overlooks the Safaa Harbor and the Red Sea, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Its architectural design is truly impressive. During the day, it serves as a natural-cooled space for communal events. At night, the entire tower lights up and serves as a guide to mariners, not to mention a focal point for an incredible nocturnal scenic view.
This remarkable beacon was built as a landmark for the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which according to King Abdullah, “…shall be a beacon for peace, hope, and reconciliation [to the world]…”
While this amazing structure and the university it represents may be of inspiration to many, the peace, hope, and reconciliation that the world so desperately needs will never be found in anything tangible, let alone in the promises of intellectual abilities. That’s because true peace is not of this world.¹
We are living in a time where “peace” has become synonymous with organizations and movements whose ideals are in constant conflict with the (true) peace that goes beyond human understanding; the peace of God.2 The increasing political, economic, social, and religious tensions we are witnessing, in spite of all the peace efforts, are a direct consequence of people putting their trust in anything and everything other than the Prince of Peace himself, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The peace that Jesus offers is an illogical concept to a world that considers peace to mean freedom from conflict.
Until God finally judges all mankind and the earth is physically redeemed, the forces of darkness will continue to operate in this world.3 That is why Jesus himself warned us of the inevitable conflicts/challenges we will face while we wait for that glorious day. But He also encouraged us by telling us to “take heart” (i.e. remain at peace) and trust Him to help us overcome the same way he overcame.4 We have to understand that to have peace doesn’t always mean you have to eliminate conflict or prevent it from occurring. We can experience the true peace of God even in the midst of adversity. That’s because His peace can supernaturally guard our hearts and minds5 so that we are not controlled by our circumstances, but rather control the way we react to them. However, in order to experience this kind of peace we need to intimately know Him whom we have believed in. We need to know who we truly are in Christ Jesus and not just say that we believe in Him but put that faith in action by living in obedience to His word.
As lighthouses for God, we can also become true Landmarks of Peace. Here are a few things the Bible says that can help us:
We are to be peacemakers.
If we consider ourselves to be children of God then we are to be peacemakers. In other words, people who help restore peace and amity. We should not only proclaim the Gospel of peace but also live it, especially in these times where political differences are tearing our nations apart. We are to serve as arbitrators and not instigators. Perhaps this will require for some of us to think twice before we comment on hot topics, especially on social media. Ouch!
We are to strive to be a peaceful people.
It may be difficult at times to avoid confrontations, but we must do whatever it takes to quench the flames of enmity. Even if it means to swallow our pride, keep our mouths shut and turn away. Taking this approach should not be considered as a sign of weakness, but rather of wisdom and mature spiritual character. Nothing testifies louder about the peace of God than when His children live in and at peace with everyone. Yes, even their enemies.
We must surrender our hearts to the peace of God.
It’s easier to respond with animosity, pride, and even apathy than with forgiveness, humbleness, and genuine concern. But as believers, we need to keep in mind that we are all part of one big family; the family of God. Therefore, we must allow His peace to reign in our hearts and learn to truly love one another in spite of our differences. Only then can the world witness the true power of God’s transforming grace.
Living in peace brings great pleasure to the soul.
Every now and then we all experience a difficult time in life. But even in the midst of our challenges we can reflect the light of Christ and serve as a model for overcoming strife and contention. In doing so, we take the focus off ourselves while encouraging and blessing others. The reward is a heart full of God’s joy; a joy which in turn becomes our strength.
Trusting God guarantees us peace of mind.
But can we actually live every single day of our lives in peace? Well, that depends on what you mean. If you mean stress-free, worry-free, and conflict-free, the answer is no (John 16:33). But if you mean at peace in the midst of life’s many challenges then the answer is yes! God has promised to guard us with His peace in every situation. However, the key to experiencing that peace is to keep our hearts and minds focused on Him and not on our circumstances.
Prayer: Lord, make me a landmark of your peace. Don’t allow my heart to be hardened and much less become apathetic to the hostility in this world; a world that is just reacting to the emptiness in their soul. An emptiness that only you can fill. So, use me even in the midst of my own challenges so that I may be able to reflect your light. The light that this world needs to experience true peace. In Jesus precious and peaceful name I pray, amen.