When Peace Don’t Come Easy!
I guess I always thought the peace of God should be immediate, a matter of just finding that right spot… that “cleft of the Rock,” that “shelter in the time of storm,” or that focus of one’s thinking. Indeed, do not the scriptures affirm this?
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isa. 26:3).
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Col. 3:15a).
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Ps. 29:11)
Certainly there is that initial peace, that oneness with God that comes by salvation: by agreeing with God as to one’s sinfulness, helplessness, and need, turning to Him in surrender, turning about and following Him. This is the peace of which Paul wrote: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). “For He Himself is our peace…” (Eph. 2:14a). Even as the angel announced and which we celebrate this season, “…on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14). And certainly too there is that hiding place in Him to which we can turn and settle our hearts at rest: “…green pastures… still waters…” (Ps. 23:
But there are also times when peace must be sought… when a battle for it must be fought… “Seek peace and pursue it” wrote the psalmist (Ps. 34:14), words repeated by Peter (1 Pet. 3:11). Such a pursuit is at times required, and of late, such a struggle has been mine.
About such pursuit Matthew Henry comments, “If peace seem to flee from us, we must pursue it; follow peace with all men, spare no pains, no expense, to preserve and recover peace; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal, both in honour and interest, for peace’ sake.” – Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary
Note the verbs in that statement: pursue, follow, take pains, expense, preserve, recover, deny oneself. Sometimes a hard decision is necessary, only after which one senses that affirming hand of assurance upon one’s shoulder, that peace of the Holy Spirit, the “peace which passes understanding” (Phil. 4:7) for there appears no visible basis for it. It is a peace borne by faith, very real faith.
Such is our case today. Peace may wish to flee from us we face uncertain tomorrows; we must pursue it. We must remind ourselves of the Love, and Promises, and Purposes of God and by faith follow them. We must take pains to refuse negativism and rather “encourage one another more and more” (Heb. 10:25). In time, whether or not troubles cease, peace will come.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).