“Rediscovering Peace: Focusing on God’s Presence” by Sheryl Gehrls
For the past week, I’ve been staying with a friend in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. I’ve spent my early mornings on the screened-in porch listening to the birds and the wind in the pine trees, surrounded by miles and miles of wilderness, lakes, loons, and rocks. There is something timeless and unchanging about the forest. Something about it reflects the power and steadfastness of God who created it. I can only begin to imagine the beauty of this planet when the curse of death is done away with, and when everything once again throbs with life and peace.
My devotional this morning was about peace, and I started thinking on that. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between God’s peace and the peace that life provides? Jesus was talking with his disciples in John 14:27 when He made this statement:
“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.”
Jesus said He gives us peace that is different from what the world gives! As I think on this, I’m beginning to see the difference. The world’s peace is dependent upon our situations and the circumstances that surround us. When things are going smoothly like we want them to, then we feel “peaceful” – but it’s only a pseudo-peace that lasts until some unforeseen factor moves in to upset our world.
God’s peace, on the other hand, is a permanent, everlasting condition that never changes. Peace is one of the character attributes of God. Because He never changes (another attribute), His peace never changes! This peace is one of the attributes of His character that God shares with us in measure. The amount of peace we need is how much He gives to us!
His peace is a solid foundation that wraps around our hearts and never lets go of us. It doesn’t fade away like a mist on a foggy day. It always encompasses us.
When Dave died, every bit of my natural peace went out the window! My heart became anxious because every single area of my life was suddenly disrupted. Nothing felt solid and stable. Much to my surprise, I soon realized that I was depending more on Dave to keep my life “peaceful” than I was depending on the Prince of Peace to enfold me with His peace despite the insecurity of my daily life.
This season of being a widow is a challenging one. Many of us have learned to lean on men who truly loved and cared for us in so many ways. Finding our way back to a place of peace can be difficult. In my experience, the first step has been to turn the inner eyes of my heart towards a Father who loves and cares for me more than I can imagine.
Lest you find this a bit strange, it simply means to sit down someplace quiet and think about God. It means taking a few minutes to be quiet and ask Him to fill our hearts and minds with His peace. He hasn’t gone anywhere! We are generally the ones who have allowed the circumstances of life to move us away from the circle of His peace. This first step is a matter of turning our hearts and minds back to being quiet in His presence and asking for His peace. James 4:2 says, “You have not because you ask not.” Many times, I have found that I’m lacking peace because I’m not asking God for it!
One of our most basic needs as humans is to feel secure. This will never happen in a world where situations are constantly changing and where cultures are becoming more and more chaotic. He wants to be our peace regardless of what life brings to us. Because He indwells our hearts, His peace is always with us. He is our Peace, unchanging, always present.
If you’re struggling today with anxiety or lack of peace, let me encourage you to take this first step. Find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes, and intentionally ask God to restore to you His peace. Please share with us what you experience during this time.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
As always, your comments are welcome, and you can email me at email@example.com.