True Peace

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." --John 16:33.

These are our Lord’s last recorded words to His disciples before His trial and crucifixion. There is nothing men desire more than peace, and nothing that is quite as elusive as peace. There are so many things to disrupt our peace, both at home and in the world in which we live.

One soldier was so hounded by his wife at home that he wrote her, "Why won’t you let me fight this war in peace?"

Peace cannot be found in circumstances, because our circumstances are as changeable as the weather. The one thing that is certain in life is its uncertainty. We do not know what a day may bring forth, so we rightly pray: "Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou Who changes not, abide with me."

Peace can only be found in the Lord of our circumstances, for our times are in His hands—both good and bad times, for He has set prosperity and adversity over against one another. In both, there are profitable lessons to be learned.

The Psalmist declared: "It was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted, I went astray."

Job exclaimed: "When I am tried, I shall come forth as gold." We read in Proverbs: "The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold." God is glorified in the trials through which He brings us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were different men as the result of their fiery experience. God brought them through that intense time of testing.

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."

We read in Hebrews 12, "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth...Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

The Word of God affirms: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. Trust ye in the Lord Jehovah, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay."

Did He not leave His own a legacy of peace? "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

As they were assembled for fear of the Jews, behind shut doors, Jesus came and stood in the midst, saying, "Peace be unto you;" and when He had said this, He showed them His hands and side—"blest emblems of the Crucified."

Shortly before, His nail-pierced hands had been fastened to the Cross at Calvary. What a paradox—that the mightiest work ever accomplished in the history of the universe was done when the Saviour was nailed to the tree! Peter writes that "He bore our sins in His own body on the tree." Paul writes that "He took that which was against us out of the way, nailing it to His Cross."

"My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought;
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the Cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

"All my iniquities on Him were laid;
All my indebtedness by Him was paid.
All who believe on Him, the Lord hath said,
Hath everlasting life."

Nailed helplessly on the Cross, yet He wrought our redemption, for "the weakness of God is stronger than men." It was while He hung helplessly on the Cross that He shouted triumphantly: "IT is finished!"—not "I am finished!"

He first showed them His hands, for He had the power to do the work; and then He showed them where the spear had pierced His heart, to tell us that, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin, and that He loved us and gave Himself for us. Yes, blessed be His Name, He made peace for us by the blood of His Cross.

Then He said to them again, "Peace be unto you; as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." He has called believers out of this world to be His own, and He has sent us back into the world to declare the glorious message of the gospel to whosoever.

He then breathed on them to let them know that, through His Spirit, He would provide the power that they all needed for Christian life and witness. He told them later, just before ascending to heaven, to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with the power of the Spirit of God. "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth."

He put them in trust with the gospel and empowered them by His Spirit to carry the message of the glory of Christ everywhere in the world. They had Divine authority to proclaim to men everywhere life and blessing through His Name to all who trusted the Saviour; and, with equal authority, to warn all Christ-rejecters and neglecters of their awful fate.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, was absent when Jesus came. He missed seeing the Saviour, he rejected the testimony of 10 apostles, he remained in unbelief for another week. The Lord said to him: "Because ye have seen, ye have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Peter writes, "Though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Unseen, we love Thee; dear Thy Name;
But when our eyes behold,
With joyful wonder, we’ll exclaim:
"The half had not been told!"


I AM WITH THEE!

"I am with thee!" He hath said it
In His truth and tender grace;
Sealed the promise, grandly spoken,
With how many a mighty token
Of His love and faithfulness.

He is with thee!—In thy dwelling,
Shielding thee from fear of ill;
All thy burdens kindly bearing,
For thy dear ones gently caring,
Guarding, keeping, blessing still.

He is with thee!—In thy service,
He is with thee certainly,
Filling with the Spirit’s power,
Giving in the needing hour
His own messages by thee.

He is with thee!—With thy spirit,
With thy lips, or with thy pen;
In the quiet preparation,
In the heart-bowed congregation,
Nevermore alone again!

He is with thee!—Thine own Master,
Leading, loving to the end;
Brightening joy and lightening sorrow,
All today, yet more tomorrow,
King and Saviour, Lord and Friend.

He is with thee!—Yes, forever,
Now, and through eternity;
Then with Him forever dwelling,
Thou shalt share His joy excelling,
Thou with Christ, and Christ with thee!

                          ... Frances Ridley Havergal