Most people likely think of peace as the absence of conflict. There are peace treaties among nations. There can be peaceful and serene environments free of noise. Another kind of peace can exist in relationships between people. Perhaps someone has been offended by something said or done and needs restoration. Maybe forgiveness is needed for a wrong action or word.
Everyone should do their part to live in peace with one another. It may require effort. One translation of Romans 12:18 expresses it this way: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.”
Peace can be freedom from hopelessness, fear, or anxiety. Is it possible to have peace in the midst of COVID? It is if one claims the words of Jesus in John 16:33 that “in the world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” Then in John 14:27 this same thought is reinforced. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives…Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
It is also possible to have peace in the midst of tragedy and loss, like that expressed by Horatio Spafford, who lost his wife and all of his children on a sinking ship. Upon hearing the horrible news, he wrote, “When peace like a river attends my way. When sorrows like sea-billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.” These are the words of the well-known hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” written in 1873, that can be found in most standard hymnals.
Decades ago my parents and I lived with my grandmother who was quite ill. My parents were away one evening, leaving me alone with granny, in another room. I had a tremendous peace pervade my being which I can remember to this day, but didn’t know why. When my parents came home and checked on grandma, they observed that she had passed. That explained the peace I had.
The peace experienced by Horatio Spafford and myself is what is described in Philippians 4:7 as “the peace that passes all comprehension.” It cannot be explained other than it being a fruit of the Holy Spirit.” It is knowing that God is in control. Have you ever experienced a peace like that? If not, you can. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There must be peace with God before it is possible to have peace as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The peace that passes all comprehension in the midst of tragedy, loss, or world conditions (including COVID), is given only to those who have the Holy Spirit living within them, who have accepted the salvation offered through Jesus.
What fear, anxiety, personal loss, tragedy, or seemingly hopeless situation might you be experiencing right now about which you need to have the peace that only the Holy Spirit can give?