October 9 I Tuesday
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
A number of years ago, there was a painting competition held in Britain. The subject was “peace,” and there were two prize winners. One painting was of the Lake District in northwest England. It was an inspiring scene of a tranquil lake in the foreground reflecting a magnificent mountain range in the background. The painting’s beautiful, blue sky was broken up only by a few puffy, white clouds. It was a warm, inviting scene that made you want to visit. The painting was titled “Peace,” and it won second prize.
The other artist went down to the southwest part of England to the Cornish Peninsula. Across half the painting was a rugged cliff that came down into the Atlantic. A dark storm was brewing, the ocean churned and huge waves crashed against the base of the cliff. Trees were blown at a 45-degree angle, tossed about by the gale. The sky was thick and black, rain pelted down and a streak of lightning knifed the sky. But two thirds of the way up the cleft was a rock and snuggled into that cleft was a nest. Sitting in the nest was a gull, eyes closed, oblivious to the storm. This painting was also titled “Peace,” and it won first prize.
The peace of God, the peace that surpasses understanding, is not the peace of the tranquil Lake District. Neither is it an absence of conflict as we often define peace today. The peace of God is much more like the peace of the gull nestled in the cleft, able to sleep at ease while the rains come crashing down and the lightning flashes. It is a peace found in the midst of trouble, turmoil and trauma. It has only divine explanations and is supernaturally resourced. It is not a peace that can be explained but the consequence of bringing our anxieties before Him with thanksgiving, trusting Him to be our security and strength.
We all have storms and struggles in our lives that we wish were different, but when Christ lives in us, we discover that He is our sanctuary of peace. He equips us by His Spirit with the resources to face any conflict life throws our way so that we can sing honestly and with full conviction:
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your peace which surpasses all understanding. Help me to know Your peace not just as a doctrine but experientially.