“Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.” — Alexander MacLaren
“God has never promised to solve our problems. He has not promised to answer our questions . . . He has promised to go with us.” — Elisabeth Elliott
“Contentment with the divine will is the best remedy we can apply to misfortune.” — William Temple
“The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace” (Ps. 29:11).
Anxiety drains us. Depression depletes us. But peace strengthens us. This verse says, “The LORD gives strength and blesses His children with peace.” Note that it is the LORD Himself who strengthens and blesses with peace and that peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
God’s recipe for release is found in Philippians: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (4:6–8). First, there is prayer — “in everything by prayer.” Second, comes praise — “with thanksgiving and supplication.” Third, there is peace — “the peace of God.” And fourth are positive thoughts — “think on these things.”
Don’t obsess on negativity and fear. You must qualify the thoughts you focus upon. Dwell on things that are good, honest, lovely, etc. This passage is God’s prescription for worry and anxious care. God’s peace surpasses human comprehension. It is supernaturally conveyed from the person of God to His praying children. It’s the stress of the storm that makes us realize the worth of the anchor. What could be sweeter than the anchor of heavenly peace in the midst of a storm?
I have a good friend who was diagnosed with advanced cancer. He went through several operations, including the removal of 78 percent of his liver. He is a very godly man, but he went through seasons of doubt, fear, and distress. One evening he cleared himself before the Lord, confessing that he had not been living the victorious life. While sitting on the edge of his bed, he found God speaking peace to his heart. A deep sense of calm flooded his soul. He commented that, whether he lived or died, he was happy either way because of this amazing peace! It is profound and beyond explanation when peace quiets your anxious heart. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord; and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”
An old writer named E. B. Pusey recommended these rules for contentment:
- Don’t allow yourself to complain, not even about the weather.
- Never imagine yourself in circumstances in which you are not.
- Never compare your own fortune with that of another.
- Never allow yourself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were otherwise than it is. God Almighty loves you better and more wisely than you love yourself.
- Never dwell on tomorrow. Remember that it is God’s, not yours.
Peace is not the subtraction of problems. Rather, it is the addition of power to meet those problems. Stop wishing for a life without complications and struggles. “Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul. We may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence even in disagreeable things, not in an exemption from bearing them,” said François Fénelon. It’s not the absence of difficulty we long for most, but tranquility in our hearts. Ask people who have suffered greatly, and they will likely tell you that a heart filled with peace is preferred over deliverance from their problems.
- Have you used your adversity as an opportunity to pray, praise, ponder, and experience God’s blessed peace?
- Are you actively fostering a spirit of peace that is unshaken, uncomplaining, and unhindered by adversity?
- Are you trusting God with your tomorrows, remembering that they are indeed His tomorrows?
Taken from “Extraordinary Strength in Adversity” by Harold Vaughan. CLICK HERE for more information on the book.