In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
God created us for peace. Adam and Eve walked in the cool afternoon with their Creator. Yet, the only humans who ever experienced true peace were responsible for its loss. In a split second of lust for greed and power, paradise was lost through rebellion against the very God they desired to emulate. With the pronouncement of the curse, God’s perfect couple fell from grace and their anguish is ours.
Each of us hopes for peace and understanding, some semblance of control in an out-of-control world. But because we live in a sinful world, we don’t know true peace. Augustine of Hippo wrote, “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” Restless describes our world. We live in troubled times, and our world is infected with the diseases of pride, self-centeredness, and entitlement. Because everyone looks out for themselves, Christians as well as non-Christians, peace is hard to find.
Peace for Trials
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
God offers help for everyday trials, as well as earth-shaking disasters. He gives us strength to walk against the tide of this troubled world. To those who are weary and heavy-laden, Jesus offers rest for our souls. He offers assurance for the unknown trials ahead.
On the days when it seems we are being stalked by a wolf, remember that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Isaiah 49:16 tells us, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Jesus echoes the same thought in John 10, where he says that no one can snatch the believer out of the Father’s hands. Therefore, any sense of unrest should alert us to the fact that we’re not resting in God. In those times, it is necessary to concentrate on the words of our Lord. God never intended that we should live in stress and fear. When he is our light and salvation, the stronghold of our lives, our refuge and strong tower where we can run for safety, then we have nothing to fear.
At times, even after spending time in God’s word, anxiety still haunts us. If we have failed to allow the words of scripture sink deep into the soil of our hearts, they die like flowers in drought. Every unsettling thought that enters our mind takes us captive. Jesus desires us to abide so deeply in him that nothing can cause our trust to falter. Therefore, we must sometimes return to God’s word time and again throughout the day. Our place of refuge is safe in the Father’s hands. We can lie down in peace.
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
When Jesus spoke to his disciples before the crucifixion, he knew the dangers they faced, the uncertainty and persecution that would come. He knew their faith would be tested and their hearts confused. They would be afraid and he wouldn’t be there in physical form to comfort them. Yet he promised to leave them with peace nothing like they had ever known—a peace that could overcome anything the world brought against them.
The early Christians faced a world every bit as uncertain as our own. Death threatened them because they believed. John wrote, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5)
God promises to guard our hearts and minds, no matter what discord we face, and that peace is not of this world but from the Father. “Abiding victory” is ours because the Lion of Judah is our protector, our sword, and our shield. We can lie down in peace.
The Prince of Peace is Ours
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6, 7
The Christian is to remain in the peace of God. When we feel upset, we must choose to turn our thoughts to God’s promises. Our certainty rests in Christ alone. Our sense of peace resides in the Prince of Peace who lives within the believer. We can lie down in peace and sleep because our Lord is in control.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8