It’s not the absence of problems; neither is it a cessation of conflict between two nations or the lull before the storm. Instead, it’s the inner equilibrium or calmness of soul that exists regardless of what’s going on around us.
What is this precious, priceless commodity?
And, dear Reader, our world knows very little about it — for it’s been estimated that there were at least 14,553 wars from B.C. 16 to 1968 A.D. And, during 4,000 years of recorded history there have been less than 300 years of peace on earth, with over 8,000 treaties made and broken.
Why is that?
Part of it’s pride. The Bible says pride causes divisions, jealousies, friction, resentments, bitterness, etc. Greed and covetousness also destroy relationships as one or more persons lust after power, possessions, popularity, etc.
But, underneath all of these is sin.
The Apostle Paul wrote that we “by nature are children of wrath, who obey the prince of the power of the air (satan/the devil), which produces within us a spirit of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-3). Or, as Thomas Watson, a Puritan preacher in the mid-1600s wrote, “Satan kindles the fire of contention in men’s hearts and then stands and warms himself at the fire.”
So true, so true.
How, then, can we ever experience true, lasting Peace?
It’s not by peace treaties, peace pacts, prescriptions, etc.
It’s by yielding our lives to Jesus Christ, God’s “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). During his time here on earth He told His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me … Peace I leave with you. My Peace I give unto you — not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:1, 27).
Thus, again, true Peace is not the absence of problems; it’s His Presence in the midst of them. That’s what sustained H.G. Spafford and his wife during the 1870’s when their whole lives began falling apart.
Spafford was a prominent attorney in Chicago. He and his wife were also close friends to the famous American evangelist, Dwight L. Moody. However, in 1870 their only son, aged four, died from pneumonia. A little over a year later they lost almost everything in the infamous Fire of Chicago.
In November 1873, Spafford decided to send his wife and four daughters to Europe on vacation. Work prevented him from going with them, but he promised to join them a short time later. While en route, their French vessel — the Ville du Havre —was struck broadside at night by a Scottish vessel. Within 12 minutes the French steamship disappeared beneath the cold, dark Atlantic waters with 226 passengers still aboard.
Four of those include H.G. Spafford’s four daughters.
After being rescued, Spafford’s wife was taken to Wales and sent him a cable that included two ominous words: “Saved alone.” The dumbfounded lawyer immediately knew his only remaining children had drowned.
While en route to meet his grieving wife, the captain of the ship on which he was traveling called him to his cabin and said, “Mr. Spafford, as far as I can tell, this is probably the general area where your family’s ship went down.”
He went out and peered over the side into the dark water for a long time. Then, he went back to his cabin and penned the words to one of the most beautiful songs ever written — “It Is Well With My Soul.”
Even now, some 140 years later, the lyrics still give us the true “Secret to Peace:” “When Peace like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea-billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.” And, to that he added, “And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back like a scroll. The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Dear Reader, here’s hoping it’s well with your soul. If not, the Prince of Peace is still on duty 24/7/365. Just cry out to Him. He’ll hear you and come to your aid. God bless you.
To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.