While talking to a friend today, I made a comment about how we needed peace when it seemed impossible. Immediately what came to mind was the phrase, “the peace that passes understanding,” because that’s essentially what I was asking for. We needed peace; though we couldn’t even begin to understand how that could happen.
Here’s the phrase in context (emphases mine):
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. — Philippians 4:4-9
This peace doesn’t make sense because it is a peace that doesn’t come naturally to us. It is a peace not of this earth. It’s the peace of God.
Recently, there was a shooting not even a mile from my house. And the news anchors were telling the residents to stay inside their homes while the police sorted things out. Immediately, I went into panic mode. All these fears and worries jumped to the surface. In an instant, any shred of peace that I had was gone.
If I am trusting myself or my own strength and endeavors, my peace will fail me. If my trust is in an Almighty God, His peace will endure. His peace will last even when everything around me seems hopeless. The peace that doesn’t make sense – which surpasses all understanding.
In searching for verses that talk about peace, I was struck by how often Paul uses peace in the salutation of his letters in the New Testament. Repeatedly, he says, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3). It’s clearly important enough for Paul to mention it in every letter to every church.
We talk about grace a lot in the church, and that’s good. But how often do we talk about peace? Perhaps it’s time to pray prayers for peace over the harried mom, the hard-working husband, the stressed-out student, the stretched-thin business woman, the worn retiree.
I pray that you find rest in this impossible peace, the peace of God. I’m borrowing these prayers from Paul for you:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. — Romans 15:13
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. — 2 Thessalonians 3:16