Don't Forfeit Your Peace
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT).
Deborah Mathis, a newspaper reporter, wrote about a time in Union Station, Washington D.C., when one person shared their God-given peace with others in an unusual way. The station was crowded and noisy. Two women near the reporter argued loudly. A businessman raced past her elbowing her and other people out of his way. A baby screamed in a stroller nearby while his mother tried to quiet him by pushing the stroller around. People talked loudly on their phones. Everywhere stressed people pushed and shoved past each other, all hurrying to get to their trains on time. Above all that noise and confusion was the voice on the public address system announcing arrivals, departures and delays.
In the middle of the chaos, a voice behind the reporter started to sing.
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Oh ,what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
By the time the lone singer reached the third line, other voices joined in. As the singer led out again with the same verse, the two ladies stopped their argument in surprise and laughed at each other. The baby changed from screams to quiet sniffles. All around the reporter and the singer, people stopped or slowed down to listen and sing along. The reporter said she had never seen anything like it. The whole atmosphere of the hall became more peaceful and positive.
I think God prompted that singer to belt out that song that day. He wanted people to think about how easily we forfeit our peace and how easy it is to give our burdens to God instead.
Chronic worry and fear are common in our culture. We stress about politics, the economy, our health, our families, our jobs, and lots of other stuff. That's not what God wants for his children. Just like Paul said to the believers in Thessalonica,
God wants us to have peace all the time in every situation.
Thessalonica was a terrible place for new believers. Several times angry mobs of Jews attacked the Apostle Paul and his partner Silas. These people were so against the gospel they followed Paul and Silas to the next town and tried to beat them up there too. Despite all the hatred, a church took root and grew in Thessalonica. And to that church, in that hostile place, Paul said, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.” Paul wanted Thessalonian believers to stand out as people filled with peace, no matter what.
God wants the same for us. Wherever we go, God’s heart is that we bring the peace of Christ and share it. If we can't hold onto peace ourselves, that’s tough to do.
Let God reestablish peace in you if you've lost it. People all around you need to see what Christ’s peace looks and sounds like in their situations. Pick one or two of the following verses and think about them deeply. We don’t have to forfeit our peace permanently. God is eager to put the gospel of peace back on our feet when we lose our footing.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid," John 14:27 (NLT).
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you," Isaiah 26:3 (NLT).
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world,” John 16:33 (NLT)
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:7 (NLT).