PEACE – This little word makes a conspicuous appearance each year as we approach the Christmas season. In a world plagued by turmoil and unrest, peace is something we all long for.
PERFECT PEACE – Can you imagine that? The Lord brought this verse to my mind this morning and I have been mediating on it all day. I find myself wondering, ‘Have I ever actually experienced anything that would approximate PERFECT peace?’
I scanned my memories for moments that were up there on the peace scale…
A lazy nap on a sunny beach with the rhythmic sloshing of waves as a lullaby
Mozart with a hot cup of chamomile tea by candlelight
A lakeside sunset from the recline of an Adirondack chair
My suckling babe nestled beside me in the early morning light
The lingering embrace of my husband in the afterglow of love-making.
Those moments rank among the more peaceful moments of my life. Still, I must acknowledge that perfect peace has thus far eluded me.
The more I thought about the promise of this scripture, the more I longed to truly experience what it promises.
I am not alone in that desire. The quest for peace is perhaps more overtly evident than ever. A new yoga studio or message therapy business is opening every time I look around. Check-out stands display titles promising peace as the reward for mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, simplifying, achieving balance and harmony—all aimed at countering the stress and anxiety of a culture where pressure reigns and time moves at a dizzying pace.
In truth, peace really cannot be overrated. A quick Google search related to stress, worry or anxiety yields thousands of articles detailing the damaging effects of the lack of peace in one’s life.
One article I read explained the connection between worry and aging. It seems aging correlates directly to the length of telomeres, the protective bookends that guard chromosomes during cell division; the process critical to regeneration of cells. Worry and stress shorten telomeres; consequently speeding up the aging process and shortening lifespan.
Peaceful living, therefore, is not just more enjoyable. Peace has direct consequences on health and longevity.
Of course that comes as no surprise to our Creator who stated plainly:
Do not fret; it only causes harm. Psalm 37:8
I struggle to be at peace. And in honesty the past few years have found me increasingly prone to worry and anxiety. So the promise of perfect peace in this verse speaks powerfully to me.
The most amazing thing about this promise is that it is based upon only one condition: fixing our mind on God. When our mind is occupied with thoughts of God our problems pale in comparison.
When I remember that He is omnipotent, what power can stand against me?
When I remember that He occupies all of time and space, what circumstance can exist in which He is not present?
When I consider that His wisdom exceeds all human understanding, what life circumstance would I be foolish to entrust to Him?
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
Allowing my mind to be filled with thoughts of Him is the only pathway to perfect peace.