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Wednesday, June 18

A Fruity Kind of Peace

As I continue on with my Fruit of the Spirit study, I’ve journeyed beyond the comfortable resting place of joy, and have found myself trekking on toward peace. I found myself at a loss as to how to best describe the peace that God gives us. Try as I might, I couldn’t think of a good example or story to tell, that would accurately portray what I wanted to say. Then I received a phone call.

It was a message actually, left by a dear friend, telling me that another friend of ours had given birth on Father’s Day. Normally, this is the kind of news a person would love to receive. But not this birth, not this time. My friend is now, for the second time, planning a funeral following the birth of her child, rather than a homecoming. It was not until during this pregnancy that a rare genetic disease was discovered.

How does one make it through such terrible tragedy, not just once, but twice? Only by the grace of God and the peace he gives us. John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” See, He never tells us that we won’t have trouble. On the contrary, he assures us that we will. It’s a fallen, broken world and bad things happen, even to good people. But that’s not the end. A second look at the verse reveals that we can have peace because He has overcome the world.

For most of us, it didn’t take long in life to realize that things aren’t fair and we can be deeply hurt by other people and by circumstances that are beyond our control. We understand that dark, ominous clouds can roll in at any time, bringing a frightful storm. Sometimes we may have some sort of warning, but other times it’s seemingly from out of nowhere. It can be downright terrifying and it would be easy to be panicked or hysterical, if it were not for God. If we allow Him to, He can step right into the midst of the storm and command peace. That’s what happened in the fourth chapter of Mark. There was a great storm on the sea and the disciples were terrified, so they woke Jesus. The verse reads, “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace! Be still! And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39 Jesus commanded peace to the storm, which brought about calm.

When he was walking on this earth, Jesus taught that trouble, trials, tribulations and storms of various sorts would arise. The degree of severity may fluctuate, but all have the potential to ravage us. It is staggering to consider the potential for loss we all could face. The loss of a job, a home, a dream or a relationship could be a tough burden to bear. The loss of a loved one, especially a spouse or a child could seem to be unbearable. And on our own it probably is. We need to take comfort from something and without God that something could be alcohol, drugs, sex, food or any of a number of things we could do to numb the pain and mask the fear. But when we have God, we can lean on Him and receive the peace He has to give.

In Philippians 4:6-7 it says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” My friend has suffered multiple losses that I would never even want to imagine. But she is strong in Christ and I believe that even through this awful time she is experiencing this peace that surpasses all understanding. I believe she knows that she is a daughter of the King, and that her Father is still on the throne. While she is yet grieving, her heart and mind are guarded from hopelessness and despair.

In no way does this peace make one to be a “Pollyanna” or in denial, but rather it is an understanding that even though we may be facing trouble, trials, tribulations and storms, we are not facing them alone. In God we have someone who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. In God we know that there is someone bigger than us to help us bear our burdens. In God we understand that we will make it through whatever we are facing and this life, with its ups and downs, is only temporary. Our eternal home is with Him in heaven, where there will be no tears, pain, sickness or death. But while we are yet here, He has given us His peace, so that we are not merely survivors, but rather we are over-comers.

Often we hear war protesters chant “Give peace a chance.” Though they are referring to another type of peace, I agree. In Christ, we should give peace a chance indeed!

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck


LauraLee Shaw said...

Yes, you have found the seed in this fruit. My childhood was filled with tragedy, but I'm still amazed to this day that the fruit of peace carried me. That God would call me to be His own at the age of 6, that I would say "yes," and then that He would show Himself through me, even as a little kid, it is awesome to me. Still gives me chills.

He is so good to overwhelm us with peace if we have a needy, open and willing heart that cannot be strong without it.

LOVING this series. More!

Josh said...

I'm so glad that you highly emphasized that it is God who gives us the peace we need. I had written a post about this a while back entitled "Perfect Peace." In it I talked about how the perfect peace that the Bible speaks of can only come from one who is perfect - God. The restlessness we feel inside can only be calmed by meditating on God and his Word. T

hank you for sharing your Godly wisdom and for emphasizing the need to turn to God for peace.