St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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Prayer: Thank you for giving me Your peace! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture: “ And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

This is the TRUE peace that stills the heart and fills it with good things. It is the peace that shows itself in times of true adversity, of suffering, of persecution, and of struggle. Herein lies the difference between God’s peace and worldly peace. Worldly peace merely attempts to remove the outward evil or force which disturbs the peace, such as when enemies are at the walls of the city, or when neighbors disrupt our sleep. When the enemy departs or the neighbor is silenced, peace returns. Poverty and sickness, similarly, threaten our worldly peace and when we are hungry or sick, we are quickly discontented. But once food arrives, or once our illness is cured, we return to peace and rest. But this sort of peace is not eternal, because as soon as another illness or unruly neighbor flares up, the peace is gone and replaced with turmoil and fear.

Christian peace, however, never leaves us. Even when outward evil remains, when enemies persist, when health wanes, or hunger grows, Christian peace remains. Even when the devil and evil flare up around us and our own lives are threatened because of our faith and bold confession, Christian peace is persistent. And oh, how the devil and his evils never cease! Shall we fall and break and be overcome with fear and tumult at every turn of Satan’s wiles? May it never be! For the Lord’s peace surpasses all human understanding, surpasses all the devil’s arrows, and even remains steadfast in the face of temporal matters such as sickness and death.

To be sure, God does not call us His beloved children so that we might escape all these things. In fact, any person who claims to be Christian only to escape suffering and adversity, he is no Christian but has created for himself an imitation Christ, an ‘antichrist.’ For reason cannot grasp any peace except what it sees in the world and what it feels in the heart, the creature comforts of avoidance and hiding from uncomfortable things. But when the Spirit of Christ comes, He doesn’t take away the outside adversaries and that which brings discomfort, but instead He gives strength and confidence to the person so that the person remains at true peace and confidence in Christ.

This comes from faith! If you believe in the Lord with all your heart, then His peace is always with you. For your faith cries out boldly, “My Lord Christ has conquered my sin, death, and the devil, and He is with me and in me. It is impossible for me to be faint-hearted or fearful or timid, no matter how much sin and death oppress and threaten me!” Look to Christ, believe on Him, for in Him, no evil will befall you or harm you so much that He should abandon you or bring you despair. For where repentance and faith remain, the fruits of faith, including peace itself, also remain.