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Viewpoint from Mark Crawford 31/12/2015 

mark crawford logoMark Crawford
Identity Youth Project Team Leader

So the latest Star Wars film has hit our cinema screens in recent days, and it is already smashing box office records. The 7th instalment of the franchise seems to have captivated both a new generation of fans, as well as enthusiastic Star Wars stalwarts, who remember the very first episode being screened 30 plus years ago

dove leftI promise there are no spoilers here, but what you do need to know (whether or not you're a fan of the films), is that the fight between the good and evil elements of 'The Force' continues to be fought, and the struggle for peace "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away", is still not over!

I guess the sad irony is that whilst watching the latest film, I couldn't help but be reminded of the wars raging within our own world. Every day, we're bombarded by the media, with the latest news of casualties, fatalities and refugees from war torn countries around the globe. Peace in our world seems a very distant dream

Yet closer to home, I'm aware that many people struggle to find peace personally within their own lives. We all suffer hardships, heartaches and struggles in life, and we all get things wrong and do or say things that we regret. Those things can stick with us, and can weigh us down and play upon our minds. Peace, on a personal level, can therefore be equally elusive

Dove rightI know all too well, from personal experience, how hard it can be to find peace. In September 2015, my mum passed away, after losing her battle with secondary cancer. She was 57 years old. Finding peace in the months since has been incredibly difficult at times, and it has certainly tested the resolve of my own faith and journey with Jesus, but I believe there is hope for us

I'm reminded in the bible, that God will provide us peace if we ask him for help. It says that when we present our requests and troubles to God, he will give us his peace in return; a peace that passes all understanding. I don't always feel at peace, but I know that when I ask God for help and tell him of my troubles, very often my burdens are lifted, and a deep sense of peace fills it's place. My hope and prayer is that in this New Year, you too will find a deep sense of God's peace, in whatever circumstances you face