I have been offered peace

Peace When Life isn’t Peaceful

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27, NASB
Can there be peace in the midst of a storm?

I remember a word image a friend painted in a study she’d written several years ago. Imagine a storm, fierce and tumultuous, raging across the prairie. Picture a tree, bending in the angry wind, and in that tree, see a nest with a mother bird covering her tiny chicks. Label that image ‘peace.’

It’s been a long time, but I still have that image in my head. It resurfaces every time I think about peace. It’s an incredible picture, and one that demands thought.

Peace . . . In the midst of a terrifying storm. But why? Peace is a back massage, the smells of lavender and the gentle chords of soothing music in the background. Peace is placid waters on a comfortable summer evening. Peace is a fall afternoon in a hammock, swaying to the rhythm of a musky breeze.

But a storm? Not peaceful.

There’s the difference. Right there. I changed the word, didn’t I? Just because a setting is peaceful doesn’t mean that I have peace. Conversely, because a setting is difficult doesn’t mean that I can’t have peace.

Peace isn’t a set of circumstances. Peace is an anchor that drops in deep waters, beneath the currants that shift with the weather. It is the truth that undergirds reality.

Peace where it isn’t peaceful. God’s peace. The kind I want. Don’t you?

I have been offered peace

Peace in Wisdom

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. . . ~Proverbs 3:1-3, KJV

Sometimes there is confusion, even among believers, about obedience to God’s Word. We live in the age of grace, do we not? Yes. So, should I continue in sin, so that grace may abound? (Paul’s question, not mine). May it never be! (Also his words—Romans 6).

I’m thinking about God’s offer of peace—that I may live in peace if I maintain my hand in His. That equation requires obedience. I hear (and think myself) now and then about how we are not bound by “church rules,” and that’s true. We’re not Pharisees. But we are to be girded by God’s rules, because they were not given intended as chains, but as a hedge of protection.

Hear me here: I’m not hinting that if we dot all the ‘i’s’ and cross all the ‘t’s’ that God  is then obligated to make our lives easy. He left us the book of Job to dash that illusion. But, as I’m gazing over the landscape of my past, I blush at how many times I’ve lived without peace because I’d neglected the ordinances of God. Disobedience has a price, and often lack of peace comes with the tag.

Walking in the wisdom of God requires me to put my hand in His, and in that grip there is peace. The question before us is this: are we hanging on to that generous offer, or have we turned our own way?