Sometimes, it feels like the trials just won’t stop—that life is coming at us at top speed, unrelenting in its intensity and pain. We long for a break, for a respite—or even just for a vacation. But our lives barrel on, and we may wrestle with exhaustion, anxiety, , and perpetual busyness.
When we can’t change our circumstances and there seems to be no end to the craziness swirling around us, is it even possible to find peace? Can we experience a soul that is at rest when nothing external changes?
This is good news for those of us that feel burnt out and exhausted: Christ promises his peace to us. It’s not a promise based on our situations; it’s a promise based in who he is.
Jesus was unflinching in his honesty about what life would be like for those who would follow him. He knew that life for believers would be difficult at times, and that we would consistently face troubles and persecutions. The early Christians experienced this, and believers at every time in history have wrestled with circumstances and trials that left them weary and worn down.
But into this certainty of struggle and pain, Jesus speaks these words to his followers:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”John 14:27
Jesus speaks directly to our fear and our troubled souls: he has already given us his peace. It is up to us to walk in that peace, and to accept the gift that our Lord has so readily given. How do we do that? Three simple choices can help us to abide—daily—in the peace he offers:
1. Find peace through the Word.
God is at work through his Word,1 and when we read the Bible, we become transformed by it. That’s why rooting our minds in the Word of God—“staying” our minds on God in this way—leads to peace: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). Peace comes to us when we immerse ourselves in the Bible, because the Word is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and it teaches and trains us as we submit our hearts and minds to it.
Does that mean that we will always leave our Bible reading time feeling renewed and refreshed, or even particularly peaceful? Maybe not immediately—but we are being transformed nonetheless, and his peace is being extended to us through his Word.
2. Find peace through prayer.
When we have issues at a restaurant or a store, we may ask to speak to the manager, because we know that he or she has the authority needed to make wrong things right. How much greater should our confidence be when we experience wrong things in this world but know that we can take our concerns to the God of creation? He is ready and willing to listen to us, and then—in his eternal wisdom and in his perfect timing—he will act on our behalf. What an amazing gift! This is why, through prayer, anxiety loses its grip on us: “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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
3. Find peace through community.
So often, our trials and struggles make us feel alone and isolated, or cause us to falsely believe we are a burden to others. But God offers us his peace through the gift of community in the Body of Christ. None of us are meant to live our lives on our own—or fight life’s battles on our own. On the contrary, “God has so composed the body…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26). We are called to care for one another, and by doing so, we extend Christ’s acceptance and peace to each other. While you may need to be brave and go first in reaching out to others in your church, the gift of Christian community is one of God’s greatest treasures. Through it, we can help one another walk in his peace.
No matter what you face today, Christ is offering you his peace that passes understanding—a peace that supersedes the fear of a troubled heart. Over the coming days, you can take steps to walk in Christ’s peace by reading the Bible, praying, and engaging in Christian community. Christ is waiting to meet you there.
Reflection & Application
- In what areas of your life are you looking to your circumstances for peace, rather than to Christ? Pray and ask the Lord to help you keep your heart fixed on him over and above all else.
- What might it look like for you to choose to walk in the peace Christ has offered you this week? Do you need to reach out to someone at church for prayer? Be brave and join a small group? Consistently read the Word?
- In the coming days, when you feel anxiety or fear, seek to turn to the Word for comfort rather than to other things. Read these verses for encouragement:
- John 14:27
- Isaiah 26:3
- Philippians 4:6-7
1 Isaiah 55:11
Photo Credit: Michael Marcagi
Ann Swindell is the author of the book The Path to Peace: Experiencing God’s Comfort When You’re Overwhelmed. She has contributed articles to The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Deeply Rooted, and multiple other ministries. Ann is also the owner of Writing with Grace, and she lives in West Michigan with her pastor husband and two kids. Connect with her at AnnSwindell.com.