Peace in Trying Times
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:27
When God promises us peace, he doesn’t mean that he will make all our problems go away. In fact, when Jesus told his disciples that he was giving them his peace, he also said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” As long as we are in this world, difficulties and problems are guaranteed. Yet Jesus says that in him we can have peace.
Phil 4:5b-7 says, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Verses 6 and 7 are verses that I memorized a long time ago and that I repeat to myself whenever I am worried about anything. I tell myself not to worry but to just pray about the issue. But only recently I noticed the first part of the sentence that comes in v5 which is the actual reason why we don’t worry but can have peace by committing the situation to God and that is – ‘the Lord is at hand’ or ‘the Lord is near’. It is God’s presence with us that enables us to have peace in difficult circumstances.
When I was young, there was this song that we used to sing in church that went:
I know who holds the future , And I know he holds my hand; With God things don’t just happen ev’rything by Him is planned. So as I face tomorrow with its problems large and small, I’ll trust the God of miracles, Give to Him my all!
Our peace doesn’t come from an assurance that tomorrow will be problem-free. Our peace doesn’t come from an assurance that there will be no difficulty. Our peace is not because we have recited Ps 91 and so Covid won’t come near us, as some WhatsApp forwards promise. Our peace comes from God’s presence with us. The source of our peace is the fact that whatever situation we are in, God is walking with us and holding our hand.
God is with us not just in our good times but even in our bad times. And we know that this God who is with us loves us and that he is sovereign over our circumstances. And so, we trust that he has a plan and purpose in whatever he brings our way. And because of that, we can have peace no matter what our circumstances.