She had it all. The perfect job, the perfect husband, obedient children, her dream house with the white picket fence, and even the cutest little fluffy dog that loved to cuddle with her at night. As I read these words, I close my eyes and imagine all my worries drifting away like the pappus from the dandelion on a windy spring day. Oh, how I wish I could live a day in her shoes, and I am sure you thought the same thing for a second. Her life sounds so perfect and so very peaceful…and who wouldn’t want a life of peace? To be honest I don’t even know if this woman exists in the real world, but if she did, her peace would not be coming from all of those wonderful things I had mentioned.
In today’s society, we equate our peace on whether things are working out according to our plan, or if we do not have any conflict. As long as we have control of the situation, whether it be our marriage, our children, our family, our job, etc., then we will have peace. However, that is not the truth, that is a lie from the enemy. God tells us in John 14:27, “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.” We live in a fallen world and we need the peace of Christ that only can come from God. Many people on T.V. or in books tell us we can find inner peace in our own strength. The truth is that we cannot; it is impossible. God’s peace is a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that quiets the soul while the waves around you are crashing violently against every side of your body. We have a real need, and that need is to humbly confess we need the peace that is only offered through Jesus. This is Shalom, which in the Hebrew language means wholeness, completeness, perfect and full.
In my own life experience there have been two distinct causes attributing to not having this peace. The first cause is not walking in obedience with God; and believe me, this is something that I have experienced in my past and, occasionally, still today. The Israelites did not live in peace for many years, in fact they lived in turmoil. An anonymous prophet had answered Gideon when he spoke these words, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery….’I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed me,” (Judges 6:8-10). God was very clear to his people back then, and He is still very clear to us today. If we choose to live outside of the protection of God, which means walking in disobedience, we will not have peace. In other words this turmoil is self-inflicted. The Israelites started to worship idols, and even though today’s society does not have golden calves or statues to worship, we make other things our idols. Today we are constantly tempted to move our hearts away from the true source of peace and move our hearts to idols within our relationships, money, jobs, children, home, and even within ourselves.
When our hearts have moved away from our true source of peace, it first started with the thoughts in our mind. It isn’t like we wake up one morning to find our hearts seeking peace in other earthly pleasures. No, it starts with our thoughts and our thoughts dictate our actions. Therefore the second cause of not having peace is when we do not keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. I have seen this in my own life, even recently, and the Lord laid the verse Isaiah 26:3 on my heart. It says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” As I read and meditate on this verse I imagine myself standing in the middle of the ocean with waves violently pounding against me, and all the while my head is held up high as I look to the heavens with a sweet smile on my face and peace in my soul. I think of the night Jesus was sleeping soundly down in the stern of the boat, when all of a sudden a storm arose. Peter runs down to wake up Jesus, and I don’t think it was a little, “Jesus, it is time to wake up,” but more of a “Jesus!!! WAKE UP!” kind of yell. The most amazing thing happened next. Jesus woke up and with two simple words, the storm had calmed. He spoke these words, “Peace, be still,” and the waves obeyed his voice. Whatever storm you are experiencing right now, know that Jesus is your peace in the midst of the storm as the waves obey his voice. Go to Him as Peter did, call out to Him for help as Peter did. The storm may not be external, but internal, and Jesus will quiet the raging storm inside your soul.
Life will always bring about storms, either through our disobedience or through something that is out of our control. However, either way the storm comes, God can and will give us peace. First, we need to make sure we are living a life of submission to God and walking in obedience. Second, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not the storm. To fix our eyes on Jesus is to read His word daily and fight against the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s word. The word of God is our greatest weapon against the storms in our lives, therefore saturate your mind with truth.
The woman at the beginning of this story sounded like she had the most peaceful life, but trust me, that is not reality. However, even though we may not have the best job, the best marriage, or we are experiencing heartache with our children, and the house is one 2×4 away from collapsing…we can still feel a peace as if everything was perfect. Walk in obedience and fix your eyes on Jesus.