“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever”—Isaiah 40:8 (NLT).
As I read my Bible this morning, God’s Word reminded me “He is still in control.” It’s often difficult, even for a Christ-follower, to let go of the fears and embrace His peace. Romans 8:6 reminds us “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
If we stay focused on the constant stream of bad news via all types of media—both mainstream and social—we will slowly die inside. His Word is where we find the sustenance necessary to feed the life-giving spirit and peace we crave.
I often wake up tired after a restless night, not because of fear, but due to health reasons. As we age, our bodies decline. But as the Word reminds me in Isaiah 46:4, He is with us always. “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Rescued by God
God is in the rescuing business. Numerous stories in the Word remind us of His saving grace. Remember the Exodus. What a testimony to God’s glory! Without His intervention, do you think the Israelites would have escaped bondage?
What about our own bondage? While created in His image, the first humans ruined it for the rest of us. But that doesn’t excuse our sinful natures, either. Only God could redeem the mess we’ve made of this world. But the greatest rescue in Christian history is the sacrifice of God’s only Son. Our liberation from sin came at a great cost—the bloody death of Jesus Christ.
John Stott writes in “The Authentic Jesus,” that “We banter around the term ‘salvation’ so much that we forget that ‘salvation’ actually means ‘rescue’– that God has been at work rescuing his beloved creation (especially the pinnacle of his creation, human beings) from captivity. This is the wonderful good news of Redemption.”
More Good News from Scripture
Scripture—reading and meditating, studying, and memorizing it—can lead us to experience the peace that passes understanding. In John 14:27, Jesus tells His apostles, “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.”
Fear of the unknown, of what the future holds, and even death, can keep us from experiencing the peace of Jesus. Instead of turning to Him for comfort during chaotic times, too many of us listen to the negative news. Like Chicken Little, we run in circles yelling, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.”
In a recent devotional, Dianne Neal Matthews wrote, “During those times it helps to remember some of Christ’s final words before His crucifixion. In New Testament times, a typical way to say goodbye was ‘peace’ or ‘shalom.’ To the Jews, this meant more than the absence of conflict, stress, or war. It implied the blessings of wholeness, completeness, health, security, joy, and contentment. Peace on the inside, not matter what’s going on around us.”
Finding Lasting Peace
As a believer, we can find lasting peace. How? Here are several suggestions:
- Start your day with God. When I rise each morning, my peaceful routine begins with a hot cup of tea, my Bible, devotionals, and a prayer journal. Routine may suggest boredom. But when you spend time reading scripture and listening for His still, small voice, life is exciting. Do I always hear that whisper from Him? As I’ve drawn closer to God through the years, I’ve learned that listening after I’ve asked Him a question, gets an answer. Even when I’m lamenting what’s on my heart, He often interrupts with a soothing message.
- Be thankful. Each morning, and throughout your day, be grateful. Speak aloud the things for which you are thankful. Even the little things can lead to a lighter heart. When our hearts are filled with thanksgiving, we’re able to keep things in proper perspective.
- Get outside. Taking a daily walk with my dog through my neighborhood lightens my heart when I’m fighting negativity. Enjoy nature, God’s creation. Even in the drabness of winter days, I can find beauty in the bare trees, a hardy flower, or a squirrel’s antics. If we pay attention, we can see the radiance of God, even on a cloudy day.
- Replace worry with prayer. Praying about our concerns and giving them to God helps us to let go and not dwell on what we can’t control. On slips of paper, write down things over which you have no control. Fold each one separately and place them in a brown paper bag. Called a “God bag,” it’s a reminder to give your worries to Him. As someone once said, “After all, He’s going to be up all night anyway.”
We don’t have to let the cares of this world rob us of our peace. As Jesus prepared to leave this world for His heavenly home, He reminded His disciples of the gift He was leaving behind—His peace, freely-given. We weren’t created to tote heavy loads of worry.
Philippians 4:6-7 is a great reminder: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”