Open Your Bible
Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 32:17-18, John 14:18-27, Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:11-22, Philippians 4:6-7
When I think about peace, I imagine three different things. First, I think of the wrap-around porch at my favorite bed and breakfast on Pawleys Island, South Carolina, where we like to vacation in the summer. It looks out over a marsh, where pelicans dive for fish and the sun paints the grasses yellow and then green. Second, I think of my friend Andi, a woman who imparts wisdom with every word she speaks, whose calm tone pervades every syllable. And finally, I think of the moment when my body sinks into a hot bath. The knowledge that I can sit undisturbed for 20 or 30 minutes is as soothing as the steam.
But our good God tells us that peace is not about a vacation. It’s not about trying to imitate a soft tone of voice, which while authentic to my friend Andi, would be disingenuous if I put it on for size. And it is not about finding more time for self-care, which brings only temporary relief. He knows that the world outside—and the world inside my own mind—is full of strife. But when Christ came, He promised to give His disciples PEACE, not as a means of escape, but as a means to exist and thrive without fear in the midst of the chaos of our world.
According to the scriptures, peace is one aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, something that God the Great Gardener will grow in our hearts and lives if we entrust ourselves to His care, no matter our circumstances. Peace will look different in different people’s lives. In the same way that hydrangeas bloom in different colors in different places, depending on the pH of the soil, peace will arrive in our hearts, blooming in its own way, in its own time. One thing is certain: if God promises to give it, then we will certainly receive it.
In John 14, Jesus says that peace is something He gives away, freely and without cost—not as the world might try to offer it (John 14:27). In Romans, the apostle Paul encourages believers to remember that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). And in his letter to the Philippians, he says “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” is able to guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6–7).
In the end, our confidence comes not in our own ability to create peace, but in our relationship with the God of the universe who loves us and provides peace in abundance, simply as an act of His great love. Christ is a means of reconciling all people together in unity, no matter the earthly divisions that try to breed hostility between us (Ephesians 2:11–22). God’s peace is not theoretical. It is real. My circumstances might be in total disarray. Vacations and plans might be canceled. Factions might rise up against each other with weapons or words. In the midst of it all, our eternity is settled, our hearts can rest at ease, knowing that God is our peace.