I will listen to what God the Lord says: he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants – but let them not return to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The Lord will indeed five what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps. (Psalm 85: 8-13)
There are a host of things in this life that threaten to rob us of peace and leave us in pieces. But, says the psalmist, God promises His peace to His people, his faithful servants. How, then, can we have the kind of faith that sustains the deep peace that can’t be shaken by the challenges that come to us all?
Listening to God is the first step. However distressing the situation appears to be, peace comes from focusing on God and what He says, not on what people or circumstances say. Listening implies an eagerness to hear, a searching out. We seek God’s voice because it alone can offer the wisdom and assurance that bring real peace. If we faithfully seek God in all situations, we will have peace because we have handed each one over to Him. We can only do that when we trust God to bring about His good purposes, whether or not we understand the way He’s doing it.
“But let them not return to folly,” warns the psalmist. We usually do that by saying we’ve left things in God’s hands, only to turn around and immediately take them back into our own. We will always have initial reactions to stress, but when we find ourselves anxious, agitated or aggravated beyond a brief period, it’s time to take a hard look at why we’re not finding the peace God promises. Trusting in ourselves or in others instead of in God is folly, and won’t bring us peace that lasts.
When we truly revere God as the author and perfecter of our faith, we are saved not only for eternity, but saved from agitation, frustration, desperation and all the other “ations” that snatch our peace. When we have peace in all situations, we have what God intends for us and our witness of that peace brings glory to Him.
God is the embodiment of love and righteousness, and reaches down to us. When we are faithful, we reach up to Him. Being faithful – or full of faith – means there’s no room left for doubt; we are full of love for God, full of thankfulness for what Jesus has done, full of yearning for His Word and His ways, and full of trust in Him. We can’t be full of faith and not have peace; peace is the natural result of a fully-functioning faith.
When we are faithful, the land will yield its harvest – the salvation of many.
When we are faithful, we will have a relationship with God that is as intimate as a kiss from a loving Father to an adored – and adoring – child. When we are hurting or scared, we will run to Him, knowing that He will gather us up in His arms and somehow make everything work out for the best.
Peace that feels like a comforting kiss from our Father. Peace not depending on us or our circumstances. Peace that’s not only unusual in the world’s eyes, but passes understanding. It’s not only possible; it’s a promise. Let’s reach up and take hold of it, and hang on for life.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)