I can tell you from personal experience that when we most need peace, we are the least capable of acquiring it under our own power. When the disciples were close to drowning during the storm while Jesus slept, their feelings were as stormy and unpeaceful as the storm around them. It’s human nature to take on the unpeaceful feelings of the storms around us. Jesus on the other hand had so much faith in His father’s love for him that he was able to sleep through a storm so severe the disciples feared for their lives. How was Jesus able to remain peaceful in the crazy, trying circumstances of His life? He knew His father was in heaven. His father ruled the universe. His father loved him. He not only knew that, He had experienced it first hand.
I dropped by Barnes and Noble yesterday and bought a new journal to use during my morning devotions. This morning I picked up my favorite pen and new journal. I opened it and pondered the blank pages. What would I write on them in the coming new year? Where would I be in life when I finished filling the pages? I thought back to my newly finished journal and how at the beginning of writing in it my life was pretty normal and boring. When I finished writing on the last page I could have never predicted where life is now. I picked up my Bible to read and eventually I wrote several pages in my new journal. Before getting up I picked up the old journal and read my first entry nine months before; “My love surrounds you. My love creates peace in every situation. My love gives peace in pain and power in weakness. My love penetrates all barriers. My love crushes hate and anger. One small matchstick of My love draws all eyes to Me when lit in the darkness.” I realized when I had written those words, it wasn’t something I had yet fully experienced. But now, nine months later it has taken on new meaning for me as I have actually experienced the peace of God as I had written about it nine months before.
I just so happened to end my morning devotions with the text, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer and while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24) This text walks hand in hand with Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. And Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. All three of these texts tell me not to worry about the future, I just need to love God and He does have a plan for me. It sounds simplistic I know, but put into practice it works. Philippians 4:6-7 has a formula for peace: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. Taken down to the basics the mathematical formula for peace is this: Prayer + Thanksgiving = Peace