Experiencing the Peace of God
By Jill Briscoe
Christ desires us to have peace. If we do not have it, we miss part of the blessings of being a Christian. Now there’s a simple statement! But I think we make it too hard. Too complicated. We think that peace of mind when we are in the midst of a storm can only be for the super saint who knows how to have super faith. Since most of us know ourselves well enough to know we are not super anything, we figure such experiences are not for us.
No, Christ wants every Christian to experience His peace. How many of us lived in peace this past week? Have you had peace today? If not, what is wrong?
The word peace runs through the whole Bible. In the Old Testament in the wonderful words of a benediction used by the priests, the promise is: “The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:26). Here it is a gift of God.
Where does peace begin? In the words of Job’s friend Eliphaz, “Acquaint now yourselves with Him and be at peace” (Job 22:21). It begins as we get acquainted personally with the mighty Prince of Peace. The Messiah is foretold as the Prince of Peace.
His Peace enters the heart by the Holy Spirit and makes it independent of all outside conditions. We cannot hope for a life without sorrow. To love is to weep sometimes in the journey of life. One of two friends must hold the other’s hand and stand by the other’s coffin. But when joy isn’t possible, peace is. The peace of God can turn sorrow into joy. And we can sing away the pain! Try praising! I loved this poem in my ‘old’ book:
God hasn’t promised skies ever blue
Flower-strewn pathways always for you
God hasn’t promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain.
But God has promised
Strength from above
And with this knowledge comes peace. Peace in the pain and sorrow. Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee (Is 26:3). There’s the promise. There is music in these words of the old prophet. Why then, can’t we get this music in our lives?
First, we need to stop trying to manufacture this peace feeling. We cannot keep ourselves in peace. “Thou will keep him in perfect peace,” the text says. It is the Lord who will do the keeping. “The Lord is thy keeper” (Ps 121:5).
We need to believe that God doesn’t need to get nine hours of sleep each night to do His keeping work properly either! He that keepeth thee will not slumber; the Lord will keep thee from all evil. He will keep thy soul (Psalm 121:3, 7). He will, He will, He will, we are promised.
And this peace cannot be disturbed -- only if we allow doubt and fear to dominate us instead. We must submit to Him and trust Him to be as good as His word. Corrie Ten Boom used to say: “Children, don’t wrestle, nestle.” And she should know because she endured months in the Nazi concentration camps in World War II. A lot of this has to do with our trust in God as our Father.
There is a story about Rudyard Kipling in my old book. As he lay dying, the nurse sitting by his side saw his lips were moving. Thinking he needed her, she leaned over him to hear his words and realized he was praying. “I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling,” she said. “I thought you wanted something.”
“I do,” he replied. “I want my Heavenly Father.” His Heavenly Father apparently came for his son, and the nurse witnessed a “peace that passes understanding” on the face of Rudyard Kipling as he entered the land of peace and glory.
A trifling illness frightens us. The most insignificant things in our lives can send us off in pitiable panic, spoiling our days, blotting out the blue of the skies, and putting out the stars. If we would like continual peace, we must have continuous trust in the little things as well as the big.
Jesus told us, “In nothing be anxious. Nothing means in anything. It is our privilege and duty to be free always -- free from anxiety, showing this sad world victorious joy. Even though joy may be manifest in difficult times as sober gaiety!
Every one of us should have peace. If we do not have it, we are living below our privileges. This is the will of God and it is only in the faithful doing of God’s will that peace can be found. When we are focused on God and others first we will know the peace of God. Selfishness is always a hinderer of peace.