The Peace of God
Betsy Rossen Elliot
As we consider the events of that ancient Holy Week, the tension mounts. We know what’s coming, and it’s not good. Well, ultimately it is the best, but the day to day, as the disciples experienced it, gets worse and worse.
We can relate, as we consider what we’ve been through in the past year, what we’re still going through on so many fronts. The young church at Philippi certainly knew adversity, and the apostle Paul sought to encourage them in their faith with a letter. A letter he wrote from his prison cell in Rome.
Paul told the Philippians to pray, with thankful hearts, and let their requests be made known to God. Then he made a bold promise: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). This is the overwhelming balm that Jesus told his disciples he was giving to them—and to us—when he shared the Last Supper with them. Knowing what they were all about to face, he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
Jesus and Paul did not say that we would be free from trials and sorrows. Quite the contrary. God promises to be with us through all that life throws at us and lovingly urges us not to be afraid, to believe and rest in his peace. God gave us his Son and his peace.
Late last summer, when I was feeling anything but peaceful, I talked with a dear friend on the phone. I expressed my anxiety, and she commiserated with me. But then she reminded me of one of the verses of the old hymn “This Is My Father’s World.” It has given me comfort and peace ever since then.
This is my father’s world.
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
God has got this. And we have his peace.