Read: Philippians 4:6-7
Music definitely speaks to my heart and soul. One of my favorite hymns is “It is Well With My Soul.” The story behind the song is amazing. The hymn was penned by Horatio Spafford in the 1870’s. Spafford was a very successful Chicago lawyer. In addition to his thriving legal practice and many real estate investments, he had a wife, four daughters and a son. Spafford was a devout Christian. His son died tragically at a young age. Not long after he lost almost every real estate investment he had in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Two short years later tragedy struck again. Spafford, trying to help his family heal, planned a family vacation. His wife and four daughters left on a ship to Europe and Spafford would join them a couple of days later after important business meetings. The vessel was involved in a collision and all four of his daughters drowned. By God’s grace his wife survived. Spafford boarded another ship to go and be with his wife. In route Spafford wrote, “It is Well With My Soul.” The first verse goes like this:
Spafford was expressing that regardless of what life was delivering, the Lord was with him. The only reason he could utter “it is well with my soul,” was because he possessed the peace that only the Holy Spirit could give. Our third piece of fruit to attain is peace.
Peace is a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances. That definition reminds me of a passage in Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 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.” God’s peace is the only peace that transcends circumstances. It is the only peace that exceeds all understanding. Two years ago while my husband and I were on a trip, my uncle died. This wasn’t just any uncle. He was more like a grandfather to me. He and my aunt had truly invested in me my entire life. I certainly cried when I received word of his death, but almost immediately God filled me with this peace that passes all understanding.
I believe the peace that is available through the Holy Spirit includes peace with God, peace with self, and peace with others. In my life, I have found that when I am not at peace with one, I am not at peace with the others. When I have a grudge against someone, my relationship with God is not right. I feel distant from Him. When I have sin in my life and feel a gap between God and me, I don’t experience good fellowship with others.
I heard an incredible example of God’s peace recently. One of the Americans injured in the Brussels, Belgium airport bombing was a young American named Mason Wells. The 19-year-old suffered burns on his face and upper body. He was asked by a Good Morning America news anchor how he stayed calm. Wells said, “I think that there’s only one person that could have helped me stay as calm as I did and that would be God. The peace and calm that I was able to feel, it was something that was beyond the physical shock of my body.” Wells gave credit where credit was due…directly to God. The ability to feel peace in the midst of a bombing can only come from God.
Several things have helped me maintain peace in my life. One is developing a habit of making the Lord my refuge, my hiding place. Merriam-Webster.com defines refuge as “a shelter or protection from danger or trouble.” That is how I look at my relationship with God. He protects me. He is my shelter. He does things on my behalf that I don’t see, but I feel and I know that He is hovering over me. Only when I recognize and acknowledge Him as my refuge am I in a spiritual posture to receive His peace. Another thing, the harder thing, is to rid myself of worry. Worry truly is the enemy of peace. Worry brings about anxiety, apprehension and many other negative feelings. It is impossible to have peace in the presence of worry. We have to replace our worry with prayer. Finally, as with the other fruits of the Spirit, I ask God to fill me with His peace, and He is faithful to do just that.
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Melanie told us that worry and peace cannot co-exist.
What do you do to rid yourself of worry? What do you do to experience the peace of God in trying times?