Friday, January 29, 2010
What this verse promises, and what I eventually came to know, was the conscious presence of God. I discovered that God’s peace is not just credal formula, but a living reality. The peace that settled upon me at that time, and which I have experienced on occasion since, was supernatural. I have never been able to explain it; it runs beyond my comprehension. I do know that this peace brought me a sense of competence before God, and it gave me the capacity to carry on in difficult circumstances.
There have been days lately when these old doubts have come flooding back. I’ve lived as a believer of Jesus Christ now for 30 years, and yet I know anxiety for a whole new host of reasons. I once again silently recite this verse, and remind myself of the peace I know God has promised. And his spirit again calms me, and gives me rest.
This peace, when it is upon me, has more substance than you might imagine. It is surprisingly full of strength and vigor. It is not a spiritual marshmallow. Jesus spoke the words, “Peace be with you” on several occasions during his life, and never as a conventional greeting. He said it as if to underline a real and wonderful reality. It is the peace of shalom he brings—of wholeness. I have experienced it, and I continue to rely upon it. It’s a mark of the ineffable in my life.