Hope you’ve had a wonderful week with lots of patriotism and gratitude for the freedoms afforded Americans. We haven’t been home for July 4th in a few years, and so we especially enjoyed a low-key day ending with fireworks shot off the side of the mountain. It may not have been as big as the fireworks we used to frequent on the National Mall, but bang for effort, it can’t be beat.
This year I’ve been contemplating what it means to have the peace of Christ. I gave a chapel talk in January on this topic, and somehow I just keep coming back to it. I guess in part it’s because there continues to be a situation in my life that has the potential to be a tremendous peace killer. Mostly, it has just made me cling to Jesus all the more, but there are moments that I let anger creep in. Anger is always ready to take over and wreak havoc. But as Ann Voskamp puts it, “anger is the lid that suffocates joy.” And that’s such a great way to think about it, because who wants their joy suffocated?
Do you have circumstances in your life that feel unjust? How do you embrace the peace of Christ in the midst of those kinds of situations? In one sense, the answer might be a multi-volume tome, but in another the answer is simple: “Nothing can set our hearts at rest but a real acquaintance with God.” (Hannah Whitall Smith, The God of All Comfort).
When we know and trust God most, peace is a byproduct. When we know God the most, we can’t help but trust Him. It’s almost like the illustration from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that simplifies so much. He said, in essence that the life of faith is like a self-reinforcing wheel. You can jump on anywhere, and get it spinning. You can jump on with choosing to believe and then you’ll be able to more easily obey God’s Word, or you can start obeying and the more you live according to God’s Word, the more you’ll believe. In short, trusting and obeying are components of a snowballing faith. But we must be mindful that the object is Jesus, it’s not self-help or self-improvement or self-actualization. It is all about Him. Hannah Whitall Smith also said, “Comfort and peace can never come from anything we know about ourselves, but only and always from what we know about Him.”
So the question becomes what do I know about Him? What do you know about Him?
I know He loves me and that He died for me, and I pray you do too.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV