“Stormy days and troubled nights are borne
Only by souls secured on an anchor eternal
Unafraid, unshaken, and surely not dismayed
They ride the storms, sleep through the nights
Darkness brings doubt, and shakings cause fear
While some run around, others simply melt away
But he who trusts the Lord is like Zion, unmoving
Supported underneath by the Everlasting Arms”
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27, NKJV)
Today, I want to remind you that God’s peace is an everlasting gift, given to those who trust in Jesus Christ. When we talk about peace, we naturally tend to think about the absence of conflict or agitation at a certain place or time. But when Jesus talks peace, he talks stability and calm in spite of trouble. The Scripture verse above makes it clear that God’s peace is not like that of the world – it is irrespective of external circumstance. Jesus is very clear that we will experience difficult times in different ways as long as we are in the world. But his peace is our anchor in a troubled world.
In Philippians 4:7, Paul describes it as the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”, and he says it will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The basis for this to happen is revealed in the preceding verse: turning our concerns over to God in prayer with thanksgiving. Those who will experience God’s peace in life are those who have learnt or will learn to “worry about nothing”, and “pray about everything”. Learning to hand over our fears and concerns to God while trusting him to handle them leads us to experiencing God’s peace in the depth of our hearts.
Thanksgiving in the midst of trouble is a great demonstration of our faith in a prayer-answering God, and that is why it is a critical part of experiencing God’s peace. We must learn to give thanks, even when we do not know why. We must teach our lips to say “Thank You” even when our hearts feel like breaking apart from the fears that assail us. When supplications are preceded by thanksgiving, we make a great statement of faith, and invoke divine calm upon our souls as we release all of our burdens before the loving God who truly cares for us.
An important precursor to experience God’s eternal peace is remaining in God’s will by obeying His word, whether they are commands in the Bible or personal instructions impressed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We Christians often have the experience of “losing our peace” when we step out of God’s plans for us – an experience in which all may seem well externally, but we can be completely restless in our hearts for seemingly no reason at all. This is often a good signal to help discern when we step away from doing God’s pleasure.
Experiencing eternal peace is God’s plan for every person, but that privilege is only available to those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior and submitted to him as Lord. God’s peace is already given, but we secure the experience by handing our cares/fears to him, giving thanks continually, keeping our eyes on Him and obeying His good will. May you ever walk in God’s everlasting peace!