Have you ever been out in the middle of a body of water? You know the type—the waters surrounding you are dark with nothing around for miles and the only thing separating you from the deep, dark water is the boat supporting you. Well, I’ve been on a small motor boat in the middle of the Nile River before and I remember the fear that swallowed me the moment I saw the angry looking crocodiles on the banks. I remember losing my breath for a moment when the crocodiles dove in the water as we approached their territory. My brain immediately began playing out scene after scene of our boat tipping over, everyone coming face to face with these huge crocodiles and losing a few limbs or my life. Needless to say, I had to preach peace to my anxious heart in the middle of the beautiful Nile River, because in that moment, it wasn’t very beautiful, but instead very terrifying.
For those of us accustomed to growing up in a comfortable setting, peace may be something difficult for us to appreciate. Despite our individual circumstances, the majority of us have known peaceful lives and I dare say we take peace for granted. We expect things to run smoothly in our lives and the moment we feel our tiny boats rocking by the crashing waves of uncertainty we tend to freak out.
Here at Vintage we sometimes sing a song with these lyrics:
Peace be still, say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh, peace be still, You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see I will trust the voice that speaks *
What do these words even mean though?
I think it speaks to the times in our lives when we really have no idea what to do, what to expect, where to go, who to turn to. We are feeble beings who need to know that all will be alright. Maybe, just maybe, being made in the image of God is partially to blame for our longing of peace—a longing for all to be made right.
Scripture refers to our Heavenly Father as “the God of peace” in the Old and New Testament (Romans 15:33, Isaiah 54:10). Jesus is referred to as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, Eph. 2:14) and he promised the Holy Spirit would bring us peace (John 14:27). During the time of Advent, we can pause and meditate on what it means for God to provide his people with peace. God, Himself, is the very essence of peace, Jesus Christ has enabled peace between God and man, and the Holy Spirit is the means by which we have constant peace.
This is great news for a world yearning for peace in the middle of chaos.
We now have an unlimited access to peace as children of God. This doesn’t mean our lives will always reflect peaceful situations; it’s quite the opposite actually, but we can lean into the God of Peace and allow the anthem of peace to calm our anxious hearts and minds.
During the bridge of the song mentioned above the lyrics cry out:
Let faith rise up
Oh heart, believe
Let faith rise up in me
Relying on God’s peace will likely look messy at times. Preaching peace to yourself will be a must during seasons of doubt, uncertainty and uninvited interruptions. Choosing to trust God is big enough to provide you with the peace that surpasses all understanding to calm your anxious heart is likely more difficult than choosing to sit in the cycle of anxiety and intrusive thoughts. But despite the difficulty, the payoff is great. Choosing to look fear and uncertainty in the face and proclaim that the God of Peace is the author of the storm puts things in perspective.
This Advent season, I pray you will turn and lean into the God of Peace who is waiting for you. He desires that you may know the peace that passes all understanding in every circumstance in your life. Jesus Christ is the gift of peace, given by God, to a world desperate for the antidote to the evil all around. He is the bridge between us and the Father, He is our brother, He is the reason the Holy Spirit can reside with us constantly. Brother and sister, preach peace to yourself in the middle of your storm. Our God loves you and holds you, just as Mary held her precious son and Savior on the night of his birth.
*The Belonging Company, featuring Lauren Daigle. Peace Be Still. 2017