Peace can be an elusive concept—in our world and in our souls. Perhaps that’s why it is so frequently referred to in an aspirational manner and is the subject of countless songs, stories, and sermons.
In the first installment of the Finding Peace series, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder dug into the topic by demonstrating how we often get in our own way when it comes to our pursuit of peace. In doing so, Ben emphasized the relationship between our reactivity—the way we react to circumstances in our life—and the anxiety we introduce to ourselves and others.
To illuminate this point, Ben asked us to consider how we act:
- when we don’t have control;
- when we don’t get what we want; and
- when we don’t know what to do.
Too often, I don’t like my own answers to these questions. If I’m honest, it’s because my God-like responses are not based on surrendering to him my expectations for the conditions and comforts I desire.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
The irony in our quest for peace is that God has already promised it to us. The question is, will we accept his gift? And if we are willing to give peace a chance, just how are we to do it?
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
You’ve likely read or heard this verse many times. And perhaps, like me, it struck you at first as overly simplistic—or even wishful thinking. But one of the things I’ve learned in my spiritual walk is how often we complicate things when we try to go it alone; and conversely, how God’s Word, when we believe it, reduces even the most complex matters to a simple equation of faith, love, and prayer.
As Ben noted, fear and God’s love are mutually exclusive. We cannot be gripped by them both at the same time. I love the imagery of being gripped by God because the Bible tells us how he longs to hold us, watch over us, and love us. And knowing that perfect love casts out fear can move us to understand that peace is attainable.
How do you react to situations that challenge your comfort level? In these times, do you struggle to portray a “non-anxious presence”—either personally or to others?
How can you consistently evoke the promise of peace that is rooted in God’s love? In what ways can doing this benefit you and those with whom you interact?
This week, dedicate some quiet time to consider Ben’s questions about your response to situations in which you don’t have control, don’t get what you want, or don’t know what to do. Examine how surrendering your situation to God can change the nature of your reactivity, reduce the anxiety you convey, and help you be a more positive presence with others.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love and promise of peace. Help me to receive and make use of this gift through my thinking, my actions, and my prayers. Also, grant me the wisdom to trust in the power of your perfect love that will cast out my fears and cause me to thrive. Amen.
This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.
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