John 14:27 NIV
27 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.
Mark 4:35-41 NIV
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
What does the fruit of peace mean? Peace with God? Peace of mind? Peace among us? Yes. Yes. And yes. I think it is all of those. But I think if we have the first, the others follow. If we can quiet ourselves enough, if we can still ourselves enough to tap in to the love of God, the sovereignty of God, the magnitude of God’s goodness, we can fully rest in His peace.
We must first make peace with God. We need to come to terms with His place in our life. We have to recognize His love and forgiveness and accept it. This has to happen before we can ever have peace with ourselves.
Shalom, the Peace of God. Peace from a biblical perspective is not just the absence of trouble but it is the deep quiet presence of God in your spirit. It cannot be touched by our circumstances. In fact, it is often an authority over them. That is why it is the peace that passes understanding. It’s hard to wrap our earthly minds around.
How in the midst of chaos, war, ugliness, pain, can we have peace? I think we have to fill ourselves with His promises. Study His life and His love. When we equip ourselves with His goodness from His living word…it is only then even possible to understand the peace He can bring. And then we have to practice it. We have to center ourselves in the heart of Christ when the world is spinning around us.
I have seen His peace lived out in other believers that have gone through tremendous earthly suffering. It is humbling to watch…that peace that makes you weep and draw closer to God. Real peace doesn’t come in the everyday comfort of routine. Real peace is shone when it is challenged. When you are face down in the depths of your pain and can trust God anyhow. When similar situations have people crying out in despair and you are crying Glory to God in the midst of it. That is peace. When we can trust His will for our life. When we are sure about His presence with us. I have seen that peace firsthand.
I have seen peace in the suffering of a pastor and friend that fought cancer and then fought it again. I saw it in his wife’s heart while in the midst of that she lost her siblings over the course of a month. It’s in her love of Jesus and her clinging to Him through it all. It’s in their not knowing the why but trusting the Who.
Peace is in the heart of the 16 year old we love fighting for his life in the hospital while the medication to fight his cancer has taken it’s toll. Peace is in the grace of his parents praising God through this storm and hand in hand with friends around his bed thanking God for the opportunity to witness to others through this. Peace is knowing that God loves him more.
Peace is in the prayer vigils for gun violence and the hearts of police officers hugging and engaging the hurt of the black community. Peace is in the not being afraid of our differences.
I witness peace in the locked arms of my family as we surround my Mamaw’s bedside praying her in to the arm’s of Jesus. Peace is in the knowing heaven waits.
Peace is in the person that struggles with the burden of shame and is haunted by memories but knows that is not how God defines her. Peace is in the knowing she is made for more. Peace is in the letting go of what we can’t control. Peace is in handing the control to our Heavenly Father.
Peace is in the wife that prays for her marriage that the world told her long ago to abandon. It fills her heart even as her husband’s behavior tries to steal it. Peace is in the prayers of people holding space for her.
I’ve seen peace in the fostering and loving of a child that after two years is going back with their parents. Peace is in the trusting God will keep her safe and in the knowing that you are doing what He asks of you…to love even when it is throat grippingly painful. Peace is in her return two days later.
Peace is in my father-in-law with Alzheimer’s that sat staring blankly most days but could sing the spirituals of his youth with the light of Jesus on his face.
Peace is in the cross. Peace is in knowing the celebration is yet to come. Peace is in trusting that whatever I am going through is nothing compared to the fullness of heaven. Peace is in the sovereignty of God.
When we are able to focus on the peace of Jesus, when we have peace with Jesus; peace with others becomes instinctual. We cannot have peace with Him and of Him and not live in peace. External peace is a natural consequence of internal peace. The overflow becomes like a popsicle on an Indiana summer day leaving little drops of peace in our wake. That is peace. In us. With us. Around us. That is the peace of Jesus.