6 June 2012
Over the last several decades, peace in South Sudan has been a fleeting notion. It rests upon the landscape as tantalizing to observers as a mirage in the desert. In desperation, one crawls close enough to experience it only to find that it vanishes in the wind.
It becomes vital, therefore, when we speak of peace in South Sudan, to consider first the spiritual peace that comes from the Lord Jesus. John 14:27 can be a helpful roadmap for us as we move toward this goal.
The peace spoken of here is:
- Indwelling. In conjunction with verse 26, we observe that this peace is left in the context of the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Being that “peace” is a fruit, or evidence, of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), this is not surprising. This peace, promised by Jesus, is planted by the Spirit in the hearts of His followers.
- Eternal. Jesus refers to it as “my peace” and, in so doing, connects it to eternity. This is not a peace that depends on physical circumstances. It is not a peace that derives existence from government policy or military strength. This peace, which has dwelt in all eternity, now touches the lives of His disciples.
- A Gift. An explanation of the gift is given by Jesus in saying, “… my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.” There is no mirage associated with this peace – no vanishing act. It is the eternal and indwelling provision of the Lord for people in desperate need.
Concerning the pursuit of physical and government-determined peace, we can see how God has granted South Sudan a promising start. Since separation from Sudan in July 2011, there have been several important steps. We can continue to pray for the many challenges:
- Pray that both sides will agree upon an official border.
- Pray that there will be agreement upon revenue sharing, particularly regarding oil production.
- Pray that international pressure would be strongly considered and that descent into full-scale war would be continually rejected by both governments.
- Pray that infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, etc) would continue to develop under the umbrella of peace.