Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
Jesus promised His peace. And yet, often times when we face hard, tragic, impossible or hurtful circumstances, peace is the furthest thing from us to be found. Oh, we might gain little ‘pockets’ of it. I know I do often. Especially when I pray for peace when I’m anxious. But it doesn’t last long.
Face it, we won’t have peace in this world until Jesus returns, and we can search for our peaceful places, but again, surrounding ourselves in the world, no matter how peaceful it might be, will never keep our souls at peace for long.
I’ve often searched for peaceful places, kind of like that rest that David finds in Psalm 23- green pastures. I’ve found peace back when I was a teen, sitting out on the edge of the cliff watching the sun, feeling the breeze, hearing the whisper of it going through the leaves, hearing the birds and watching them flying off for a roosting spot for the night.
I’ve found it sitting on a river bank with a fishing pole in my hand, just resting quiet, waiting on that nibble.
I certainly found it often at the swamp, especially at night, outside hearing the night sounds of owls, crickets, frogs and seeing the moonlight glisten off the oak leaves like the tree was made of diamonds.
But it never lasts, and it’s never soul deep for long.
I often pray for peace, for my friends, for our troops, for Israel, for me, and I pray what Philippians promises for those who suffer loss, because when we do suffer a significant loss of a loved one, there is nothing that can be said in the moment to give us peace- it can only come from the Source, and it’s always beyond our understanding when we can find it wash over us in our most desperate and grief stricken times.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
How do we receive that peace which will stay?
My anxiety levels have been sky high for the past few months, and I feel almost (double minded) crazy with my thoughts swirling from one thing to another, back and forth between trusting God and being anxious enough to lament. Seems like David had a lot of those, only he wrote his down in psalms…. But back to the point.
We receive the peace which will stay longer by following the preceding verse, in Philippians 4:6 which says, Be careful for nothing( other translations say be anxious for nothing, or don’t worry) ; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And then going into verse 8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I admit, with so much going on in our lives, and of those we care about, and in this world, it’s harder to concentrate on those good, lovely and pure things for very long. But if we train ourselves and ask God for help to train our minds, it can be that more Godly things will replace all those other things going on in our thoughts.
This might seem so elementary to many more seasoned believers, yet even the more godly have times when anxiety and fear can crowd in and peace be gone.
I’ve been finding that the more I give thanks, even if it’s just saying “Thank You Lord” for simple things, waking up in the morning, stepping outside to a pretty day, a safe drive to work, finishing a job correctly or a variety of other daily things, my mind is being transformed and I am thinking on Him more. Yes, a lot of anxiety is still there, but I am quicker to ask Him to help me with that and have peace.
And what is really cool is how quickly I find myself settled down within. Not always, but more and more. Prayers and thanksgiving causes us to think more on the honest the just, the pure and lovely. Calling out to Him to let His strength be made perfect in our weakness is what He wants and is so willing to provide. Calling on Him to ease our anxiety is something that pleases Him and He will give us rest, but also help us through those things that are making us fearful or anxious.
Suffer posted such a great devotion a couple of weeks ago from Oswald Chambers, where it said in part, The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently we do not make our nests anywhere.
When we remember, or consider God’s sovereignty, that nothing surprises Him, and that He knows every circumstance, and still is working His plans out, even if we don’t know or understand what they might be- that’s when we can be certain in our uncertainty, and be at peace, knowing that God is in control, even if our lives are seemingly spinning out of our control. Again from Oswald Chambers, We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. This is where we let go and let Him.
It might seem so over simplified to those who like to analyze and solve problems, and it probably sounds foolish to those who don’t believe, but even while I still get anxious, the fact is, that the more we give God what is His, He will give His peace into us.
And this is where peace beyond understanding begins to settle our souls enough that we can say, it is well.
Have a blessed Monday all!