2 Thessalonians 3:16 ¶ Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
Peace is not the absence of conflict, it can be the context of conflict. In the context of peace conflict changes from destructive to constructive. Context means, “the circumstances or events that form the environment within which something exists or takes place.” Encarta Dictionary There are contexts to all human relationships.
Peace is a primary context. When peace exists a relationship takes on certain characteristics which may not exist outside that context. For instance within peace there is a presumption of safety. Those I am at peace with will not seek to harm me. There is a presumption of justice. If our differences become acute we will follow just methods to resolve those differences. There is a presumption of mutual benefit. A peaceful relationship will enrich our lives. When we live in the context of peace we have more usable time, energy, and resources.
Sometimes the context of peace must be enforced by a third party. The peace Paul spoke of in the verse above is this kind of enforced peace which can overwhelm all the circumstances of life. This peace was not intended to include only peace with God, although that is enough, it is an enforced context of peace surrounding all the circumstances of our lives. The Lord “himself” will enforce this context of peace. This doesn't mean we won't have conflicts, but that our conflicts are allowed by the Peacekeeper and will ultimately strengthen our faith. Only within this context does the following verse make sense.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.