One of the most popular Christian hymns, It Is Well, begins with the words written by Horatio Spafford after the loss of his family, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’.” How many of us have sent up a prayer to God these past few months asking for peace to attend our souls? I imagine many of us have.
Peace seems elusive for us. There are so many things running through our minds, so many relationships that have crumbled, so many financial troubles that disrupt our spirits. Prolific author H. G. Wells wrote, “Here I am at sixty-five, still seeking for peace.” Have you been in that same spot … searching for many years but still not being able to settle into a spirit of peace?
Peaceful Words from Jesus.
Some of the most comforting and peaceful words Jesus ever spoke are found in Matthew 11:28-30:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
We can Come to Him – he is not resisting us, turning away from us. He is welcoming us.
Everyone can come to Jesus – “all of you” – no one is more important than you. Never feel that you are not good enough to come to Jesus.
Your burdens are welcomed by Him – weary and heavy burdened, come to Jesus. He is not waiting for you to get all your problems worked out before you come to Him. You can’t! You come to him to find relief.
There is a promise – I will give you rest. No one else can give us this gift of rest and peace the way that Jesus can. He offers rest in the deepest part of our hearts.
There is a path forward – Take my yoke upon you – let Jesus be the Lord of your life- Let me teach you – let Jesus be your teacher, rabbi.
There is a Savior who cares – humble and gentle. Let Jesus lead the way in your life. I pray that you have given your life to Jesus – that is the true path to peace, forgiveness, grace, and the promise of eternal life. When we decide to make Jesus Lord and we obey His teachings he promises to give us what we need most in our hearts.
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Peaceful Words from Isaiah
One verse in Isaiah is one we usually hear many times during the Christmas season, but it’s true for all seasons.
Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Facing the struggles of life with faith is a key to surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of the turmoil and unrest around us, God promises peace for those who trust Him.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
Eternal Rock – the One on whom we can depend on forever. He is never going to move or shift. He is completely trustworthy.
Isaiah 53 is the Suffering Servant – it is such a specific prophecy about Jesus, it’s really amazing. Hear what he says about peace here:
Isaiah 53:5 NIV But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
What Jesus did on the cross accomplished the eternal plans of God. Part of that plan was to bring us peace by relieving us of the burden of the guilt of sin. His wounds brought about our spiritual healing. We can now have peace with God because when we follow the teachings of Jesus we can experience release from our sins and freedom from our faults.
In Isaiah 57 there are two verses that talk about peace.
Isaiah 57:2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
This reminds us that our walk with God is a life-time commitment to Him. When we walk uprightly – that is following His will and the desires He has for our lives – then when the end of our life comes, we will enter into peace; we will find rest.
The second reference to peace in Isaiah 57 is this startling truth:
Isaiah 57:21 There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God.
What a blessing it is to be a Christian and to receive from God the healing and grace He offers. On the other hand, if we refuse to follow God and choose not to listen to His teachings, we will not be able to find peace.
Peaceful words from the Psalms
The Psalms are a source of peace for many people. Psalm 23, the Shepherd Psalm , talks about being led beside still waters – it’s a beautiful word picture of the way that God desires to lead us. I wanted to mention two verses in the Psalms in particular that talk about peace.
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
At night when we try to go to sleep, how many of us have a hard time because of the many issues we are facing? We replay the conversations of the day, ruminate over the dilemmas we are facing, and we think about the regrets we have in life. It’s hard to sleep when our mind won’t turn off. I think we could memorize this verse and say it over and over to claim the peace of God that is promised. God alone can keep us safe. That truth should sink deep into our hearts and help us to turn to Him. Say to your thoughts that the peace of God is yours because ‘you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.’
Psalm 85:8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people…
When we listen to God we will not be in turmoil, distress, and unable to find peace. Instead, when we listen carefully to to God we will hear him speaking peace. He speaks peace to his ‘faithful people’ – we have to realize that when we live lives of sin and do not try to please God, we will experience a lack of peace. We all sin – we all have faults – we all need grace. But when we continually live lives of rebellion to God, we won’t find peace. It is when our hearts are faithful to Him that we can find the peace we so much need and desire.
Peace From the Holy Spirit
One thing the Bible is clear about is that peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives within you and will help you. He will help you more and more as you yield yourself to His influence. Peace is something that God wants to give you through the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
What does it mean to ‘let the Spirit control your mind’? I think it means letting God’s teachings become your beliefs. The world lies to us, and we sometimes believe those lies. We can believe that God doesn’t exist, or he doesn’t care, or he isn’t involved. We can believe that he loves everyone – except me. Or that his promises aren’t for me, they are for extra spiritual people. When we let the Spirit control our mind we seek to see things from God’s perspective, to believe God’s Word, and to trust God’s Ways in our lives.
Paul says in Galatians 5:22-23 that “...the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
One of the fruits or results of the Holy Spirit in our lives is peace, along with many other wonderful gifts. When we focus on God’s perspective and God’s Word, we can have peace in our lives no matter what storms we are going through. That is because we do not manufacture our own peace – we receive it as a gift from God.
I read a story about a ship that was wrecked in a furious storm and the only survivor was a little boy who was swept by the waves onto a rock. He sat there all night long until, the next morning, he was spotted and rescued. Someone later asked him, “Did you tremble while you were on the rock during the night?” He said, “Yes, I trembled all night – but the rock didn’t.”
We may tremble and be afraid at all of the things that we are facing in our life, but if we build our hopes and lives on the Rock that is Christ, we will find Him steady and sure. He doesn’t waver.
Too often people try to find peace in alcohol and drugs, in sexual relationships, in food, in a hundred other places. Some people believe that the only way they can find peace is in suicide. But peace can only be found in Jesus Christ – peace that lasts, peace that exists in spite of storms of life, peace that overcomes relationship problems, peace that helps us deal with financial struggles, peace that is our rock – even when we tremble, the peace that God gives us does not.
I want us to keep in mind a verse that many refer to during this coronavirus pandemic. It was written by the Apostle Paul from prison – a place where we would think it would be hard to find peace. Instead, listen to his words…
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Peace is an experience … it comes when we tell God all about our struggles and allow Him to guard our hearts and minds. What we think about and how we choose to think are so important. Fill your mind and hearts up with the Word of God, follow Christ, and experience peace. It cannot be found from any other source.