“Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14:27
Have you ever been the beneficiary of this type of peace? I don’t mean everyday contentment. I’m talking about a supernatural version. The kind of peace that just doesn’t make sense. Stephen facing a stone-wielding angry mob certainly displayed this type of peace as well as other martyrs. But I don’t think we have to be in the act of giving our lives for our faith to glimpse the amazing serenity from the God, Who is peace.
Picture a gathering for a funeral. The loved one died suddenly and people came from all over the country to converge on the family home for a full week. With every room fully peopled from beds to floors, the daily grocery run amounted to the normal cost of two weeks worth of food for the household. Cancelling normal plans, the spouse of the loved one hosted every meal and encouraged the other members of the family. In addition, he had a number of normal funeral tasks with which to deal (that no one thinks about until the situation is thrust upon them).
The spouse: my father-in-law. The loved one: my dear mother-in-law. You can imagine the stress of the week. With two brothers and their families on my f-i-l’s side and six brothers and sisters and their families on my m-i-l’s side, the house popped. Some of the people didn’t normally get along. Others barely knew each other. And alone time was impossible.
But we had a praying church family. We were so well-covered, I actually look back on that week with great fondness.
My mother-in-law broke all the rules that I’d heard about m-i-ls. She’d been a great friend to me and her home had always been one of my favorite places to be. Yet even with her absence, such peace exuded that environment. No one wept or grieved. We laughed and told stories and hugged each other. But even I didn’t cry.
That’s ridiculous. A funeral week without tears? Chances are some cried at the funeral, but the home was amazingly upbeat. Supernaturally upbeat. I’d never felt anything like it before, but I have felt something since.
My son, my first born and only boy is seven time zones away from me. He left last August for Africa and will be there another five months. He’s had illness, despair, and countless challenges like traveling for hours on the back of a scooter, sleeping under mosquito netting to keep scorpions off, and living in a tiny, remote village where no one can speak in a language he understands.
I’ve never been a worry wart, but what a helpless position for a mom. And yet, he has a praying team of over a hundred and I get to benefit from many of those prayers – yep, peace. I know he’s in a dangerous place, but my spirit stays calm. And I promise it’s not from anything about me.
Our God is sensitive to the needs of His people. He hears our prayers, our pleas, for healing and blessing. For end to pain or persecution. And then He responds. Not always with the answer that we desire, but ALWAYS with His peace should we accept it.
“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.” Philippians 4:6-7
I think it’s an important point to recognize that the peace of the Lord is where He is. In the section of scripture where God is originally called peace, Judges 6, the writer comments that the Israelites had done evil in God’s sight. And after the Midianites overwhelmed them, Gideon asked the messenger from God, “Why has God abandoned us?”
The Lord makes it plain that He draws near to people at different times. Many stories in the Old Testament, especially Judges, indicates the opposite is also true. He draws back from people who show contempt for His ways, His holiness, and the righteousness that He wants to see in us. So peace in the land wasn’t evident because the presence of the Lord wasn’t invited.
This makes it clear that we must receive Jehovah M’Kaddesh before we can understand Jehovah Shalom. Make sure you read More About Jehovah M’Kaddesh, too! In Isaiah 26:4 The prophet says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
He doesn’t promise an easy life. Quite the contrary. And He doesn’t promise that all things will work out the way we want them to. But He does promise that things will work out for our benefit and for His purposes.
In the meantime, He unfolds the blanket of His comfort, the warmth of His calming breath.
Your Turn: When was a time you felt the presence of Jehovah Shalom?