Weekly Devotional 2-11-19
Peace of God; Even Trough Suffering
Recently, in a rebuff of our articles on Peace with God, The Peace of God, a reader wrote, “He didn’t give any peace in the home of all the children that were brutally beaten raped and murdered. Illusions are in the air, reality is on the ground.” It would seem by his comments that he knows or knows of some who have suffered tremendously at the hands of another, or others. If this is the case, our heart goes out to him, and them. Certainly, there is pain in any one of these experiences and certainly it is hard to experience peace in, or after, such an experience. These experiences are life altering. Many of us know persons, or may ourselves carry emotional scars as the result of things they and we have suffered, even after many years. Some of the hurts are so deeply etched in our memories that it is humanly impossible for anyone to forget or have peace. To this we agree. It may be humanly impossible. But, that is the point of these articles. The peace of God is super-natural.
Before He was to be crucified, Jesus sat down with his disciples and told them that He would soon leave them to return to His Father in heaven, leaving them alone. They were grieved over this, but He encouraged them with these words. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). After He would leave them, they would experience a peace that was not understandable by those who were not His. Those who were natural, unregenerate persons. It would be a super-natural peace. Later, in that same discussion, He said to them, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He explained to them that the peace He was to give them was sourced in Him. It is not sourced in anything that the world can provide. Eleven of these men would suffer much. Ten of them would suffer martyrdom. John would also suffer, too, by being exiled to a lonely existence on the Island of Patmos. Over the years many of God’s servants have suffered many things. Some of them even suffered death. Polycarp, Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, Jim Elliot and four of his missionary friends to name just a few. Many missionaries of our day are also suffering abuse, beatings, imprisonment and some death. Many of these people were given a choice. If they would renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, their sufferings would end and their sentence of death would be removed. However, because of their faith in the promises of God, they would not recant. This faith, this assurance, afforded them the aforementioned supper-natural peace.
Some may ask, “How was or is this possible? How could they gain such a confidence and such a peace?” It is a work of the Holy Spirit. From Paul’s letter to the Galatians we read that the Holy Spirit produces in the life of a truly committed Christian His fruit, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22b-23a). He will not, however, produce this fruit in the novice, the half committed Christian. Paul added, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (vs. 24).
Therefore, to have the peace of God one must first be in a relationship with Him. Secondly, he or she must be committed to following Him. In another letter, Paul’s letter to the Roman church, he wrote, “16The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us….28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ 37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:16-18.…28-39).
It is possible to have the peace of God, but we must fill ourselves with knowledge about Him such as that quoted above. One thing is certain. “9Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 10But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1st Corinthians 2:9-14).
We pray that what has been written in this little work will be helpful to our reader mentioned above, along with others who may be struggling with experiencing the peace of God.
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
All Scripture usage is from the NKJB