The Peace of God

I preached recently on the greeting “Grace and peace to you…” which Paul uses in his letters. I understand grace, and thought I understood peace. In preparing for the sermon I reflected in my own life the times in which God’s peace was overwhelming present in my life. The most profound experience of peace occurred as I sat in a four seater airplane as it glided to the earth from 8000 feet in the air. We had engine problems, it was night with clouds at 1000 feet, could not find the airport, the pilot was inexperienced, and me, the passenger was all of eighteen years old. Peace came into the passenger seat. I was certain that I would make it to heaven that night. My spirit was at rest, ready to meet my Maker.
There is forever a disappointment with the experience. Even though life has been good these last 34 years, still there is a longing of having missed out on life’s greatest gift-the life hereafter. Faith in God declares this truth with clarity and passion. Death is not the end. To be absent in the body, is to be present with the Lord. O Death where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy victory? For every Christian there is an assurance that nothing in this world will separate us from the God who loves us, not even death.
There is yet time for the greatest gift. Now I am left with peace. One commentator wrote that Biblical peace is “…a comprehensive kind of fulfillment or completion, indeed of a perfection in life and spirit which quite transcends any success which man alone, even under the best of circumstances, is able to attain.” I have had moments in the presence of God which could be described by those words. They are a treasure, a looked for, longed for treasure that surprises you in the midst of the storm, when the wind is wildly whipping your body and the rain stings the skin-peace comes. A smile breaks out in your spirit, its the Lord come again to calm your fears and to quietly remind you that its not the end of the world, its only a storm, a momentary, passing wind that will be gone tomorrow-peace.
I have known this peace because in desperate situations I have rested in the presence of the “Prince of peace”, and of whom it is written “and of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7) Oh what peace is coming our way.
I believe that God’s peace is available to everyone who asks. The blessing given by Moses in Numbers 6:22 and following implies that this is possible. “The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The LORD life up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” This verse describes the blessing, the protection, and the favor of the LORD, and summarizes these blessings with one word-peace. I believe that peace is available to all, but its those who are in the midst of war who need it most, and who are able to discern it best. We rarely know what we have until we lose it and its difficult to appreciate the peace of God until we are lost in the fog of war, trial, or inhospitable situations.
Let me encourage you today to take a moment to receive the peace of God. If everything in your life is good then the peace of God may be difficult to discern. If it is raining where you are, then it will be easy to find. If your situation is difficult, say like 8000 feet in the air, no fuel, no runway, only trees, then let God sit in your passenger seat and give you a peace which is beyond your mind’s ability to understand. That is His desire for your life.

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