"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."
This is interesting. I like how Christ addresses here what we probably all really want. Some peace. Less conflict and fewer obstacles to us seems to equal more happiness. But here it seems to say that Christ came to add more obstacles to our lives. How could that be? Doesn't he want us to be happy?
... And of course the answer is yes. He wants so much for us to be happy. I remember when I was in about third grade. I had to learn the multiplication tables, and I hated it. I could do the math... I just didn't do it well when pressured by time. I thought it was the stupidest thing ever, and I wanted to give up. Now if God, or even my mother, had decided to grant me peace right then, and saved me from timed multiplication skill tests, I would have accepted gratefully and happily never learned to do it. ... But they didn't grant me peace. Why? Because they loved me, and knew that I would need knowledge of how to succeed under pressure in the future.
It may seem like a silly comparison, but I think we are probably even a little less than third grade compared to God most of the time, and we often want peace for the same reasons... we want the obstacle gone so we don't have to learn hard things. And God, who loves us so much, allows the obstacles to remain because he knows that in order to become the people we have the potential to be... we need to learn these lessons. Today, let's not expect immediate peace or release from all the things that perplex us... let's get in there and learn all we can.