It would be a strange thing for a mother to set her daughter loose in a mud pit, but warn her that she must not let her clothes get dirty. It would be a strange thing for a father to instruct his son to ford a river, but warn him that he must not let his feet get wet. Yet when we come to God in repentance and faith, when we joyfully surrender our lives to him, he gives us that kind of challenge.
God asks us to live in a chaotic and tumultuous world, but to have hearts that are peaceful and calm. Having found peace with God, we are to be at peace with our fellow man. And not only that, we are to spread that peace—to leave behind us a trail of love and goodness and kindness. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way,” says Paul, and “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” With that peace reigning within, we are to “strive for peace with everyone,” for “God has called us to peace”—to always and ever “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
This is no small challenge. This is no small challenge because every day we encounter situations that threaten to rob us of our peace, contexts in which the uproar around us threatens to cause an uproar within. We see people behaving badly and long to respond in kind. We have people turn on us and feel the longing to retaliate. We grieve, we suffer, we face trial and persecution, and through it all find temptations toward despondency, despair, discord.
Yet the Christ who cried out to the storm and bid it cease its raging is the same Christ who whispers to our very souls to say, “Peace, be still.” As the storm had no right to rage when Christ had told it to be calm, our hearts have no right to rage when he has spoken his words of peace. As Christ had the power to command the storm, he has the power to command his people. He has the power to command you and me.
So let your heart and mind be always calm and submissive before God, always content in his providence. As God’s people were to allow no chore to interrupt the peace of their day of rest, you must allow no tumult to interrupt the peace within your heart. As Jesus was meek before God and man, so must you be.
When your heart is at peace, so too can be your hands, your feet, and your mouth. In times of difficulty, then, display in your outward demeanor the peace that rules within. In even the most taxing of all circumstances, let there be a serenity upon your face, a forbearing tone to your voice, a gentleness to your touch. Be more willing to suffer wrong than to break peace, more willing to endure long trials with meekness than to shorten trials through sinfulness. Tread softly through the world, speaking kindly and gently, never expressing the least note of cantankerousness or irritability. Pursue peace with friends and enemy alike.
You can do all of this and more when the peace of Christ is ruling you from within. At the close of each day, you can rest content in God, casting all your cares and anxieties upon him and resting in his sweet comfort. Then, when you awaken, you can once again embark on the very same God-given mission. And in that way, day by day and bit by bit, you will blanket the sorrows and troubles of this earth with the precious peace of God. You will be at peace, thus proving that the God of love and peace is with you and in you.
Inspired by Blessed Are Ye by F.B. Meyer