One of my favourite times of the day is the blue hour right before sunrise. Most of the world is still tucked into bed and there is a quietness and stillness that settles over you, and it feels almost irreverent to make a noise and break that silence. Standing in the forest you can hear the birds slowly start to wake up and find their voices, and see the deer move on from where they bedded down for the night. The heavy laden stillness that heralds the sun’s rising is what I imagine it feels like to be truly peaceful.
I have prayed for peace more times than I can count. I’ve pleaded with God to grant me relief during the long hours of the night when I’m plagued by anxiety. I’ve lifted my tear strained voice to heaven, asking God to cover hurting loved ones with His comfort and peace. I’ve whispered it from the depths of my heart, inviting tranquillity to make its home in my soul. We pray for peace, we hang signs on our walls about it, we sing songs about peace, but do we even know how God’s peace is different from the world’s concept of it?
Peace is so much more than a throw-away noun or a pretty painted declarative. The world offers peace to us in the form of tranquillity spas, meditation, and self-care, but these are only fleeting shadows of what has been promised to us by God. The peace that comes from the Lord is more than skin deep; it sinks down deep into our souls and settles into our bones. The Greek word for this heavenly peace is eiréné which means peace, quietness, and rest. It can also be translated as God’s gift of wholeness. I love the fact that the Lord’s peace isn’t just a band-aid solution to our worries, but it’s a drawing close and holding tight, no matter where the storms and winds of life take us.
Peace is letting out the breath that you’ve been holding deep in your chest for a long time.
Peace is the untwisting of your stomach after you release your death grip on life.
Peace is knowing that your Heavenly Father understands you when your heart is at a loss for words.
Peace is warmth spreading through your body when you realize that you don’t have to have it all together.
Peace is feeling the weariness leave your bones because you’ve finally slowed down.
Peace is a weighted blanket draped over us, making us feel at home in a world falling apart around our feet.
Peace is knowing that we were never made to have it all together and that we were never called to save our own lives.
We all long to be made whole. We spend our entire lives searching for things that will fill the empty spaces in our hearts—filling our lives with the broken, shadowed things of this world, hoping against hope that something will stay long enough for us to get some relief. But those things – the money, sex, addictions, promotions – will always fall short. Only Jesus can make us whole. Only God can give us the gift of His peace, which calms our racing hearts and silences our raging minds.
“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
We have not been given any old peace; we have been given Jesus’ peace. When the angels announced his birth, they declared, “Peace on Earth!” When Jesus rose from the grave, He greeted His disciples by saying, “Peace be with you.” Jesus’ whole life was this divine peace lived out. He sought to bring lasting rest and wholeness to the people around Him in whatever way was necessary to shatter their beliefs and concepts of serenity so that they could fully accept His gift of wholeness. And He is still doing it today.
We pray for God’s peace to cover us in seasons of hardship, and when we walk through trials but do we know what it’s like to have it dwelling inside of us? We pray to be covered but what we really need is an indwelling. I am very tempted to ask God for simple band-aid solutions to my problems when I need a whole heart remodel. Thankfully He is gracious and kind to give us what we need, not what we want, which can be a bitter pill to swallow at times. But the rest and wholeness of the Prince of Peace is so perfect and pure that it fills the cracks of our soul and begins transforming us into who we were created to be. Do you want to be simply covered by peace, or have it soak into your very being? The Prince of Peace is waiting, but the choice will always be yours.