I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have
trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” There was
something about those lyrics that brought a sense of peace whenever I sang them: “When
peace like a river, attendeth my way… It is well, it is well, with my soul.” Horatio G. Spafford, the man who penned that hymn, experienced profound tragedy with the death of his son to sickness, the loss of most of his real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fire, and then later the news that all four of his daughters had perished at sea in a shipwreck.
How did Horatio find peace in the face of so much tragedy? He was rooted in his faith and he understood peace in his soul. I only began to understand this in the midst of my own tragedy in 2002 when my marriage fell apart. Though I was devastated because it was my second marriage and I really wanted to make it work, God continued to give me surprising peace in the midst of my storm. Peace is certainly not a formula or a 5-step process, but here are some specific ways we found peace in our situation:
- START BY DEFINING PEACE.
We often think of the word peace as the absence of fighting and chaos. Jesus gave peace as a gift to us in the midst of turbulent situations. His definition of peace was different from world peace. He cared most deeply about peace in our hearts.
Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world
gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” – 14:27
In this chapter, Jesus was talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit. He explained that He would be going away to heaven, but he was leaving the Holy Spirit to personally guide and give us peace.
- SEPARATE LIES FROM THE TRUTH.
When we are facing trials, we often let our minds wander to the worst-case scenario. We
entertain our fears and let them rule our hearts. The Psalmist warns us:
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14
We actually have to pivot from the lies of the enemy and bask in God’s truth. We have to
intentionally seek peace by separating lies from the truth. For example, when my marriage fell apart, I was fraught with fear. I feared being alone. Yet, all throughout scripture, God promises to be with me and never leave me alone. I had to cling to that truth and turn away from my fears.
- SURRENDER CONTROL TO THE ONE WHO CONTROLS IT ALL.
Oftentimes we do not feel peace because we are trying too hard to control a situation. The
reality is we are never in control. The peace only comes when we are able to surrender control to God and trust Him for the outcome.
This verse reminds me that God’s peace surpasses understanding and control of all the details: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7 (CSB)
- MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURE TO ENCOURAGE YOUR HEART.
One practical way I learned to find peace is by writing out and reciting scripture. Develop a
scripture notebook and in each season, write out verses that encourage and bring you hope. When we focus our minds on the truth in scripture, we do not have space for stress and worry.
- LISTEN TO WORSHIP MUSIC.
Music is another way to fix our minds on God’s truth and to calm our fears. I love the story in 1Samuel 16 when David played the lyre for Saul who was being attacked by a harmful spirit.
The music calmed and refreshed him. Music helps us fix our minds on the truth and calms our souls like Saul. It’s difficult to worry and worship at the same time.
- DISCOVER HIS GLORY THROUGH CREATION.
God frequently brings us peace through nature. The petals of a perennial freesia pushing
through hard earth, ocean waves crashing, a pine tree pointing toward the heavens – all of
these remind us that God is in control and He is in the business of bringing beauty from ashes. Beloved, remember we are not alone. We all face unexpected trials. God promises to offer peace and comfort if we continually seek Him.
Write out the following scripture and pray for peace in your present situation:
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be
with all of you.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16