Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with a nice elderly lady and she was sharing with me about her health issues and other concerns. Suddenly she stopped and wanted to know if she could ask me a serious question. I said of course, and she proceeded to relay that she felt silly asking me about salvation, especially with her being a church member since she was a child. Her question was, “How can I really know that I am going to heaven?”
I do not believe this is anything to be embarrassed about, in fact, it’s rather common as I’ve actually examined my own soul from time to time. I could sense the heaviness of doubt was stealing her spiritual joy, and this can escalate into fear and anxiety. I spent some time reminding her of the basic fundamentals pertaining to faith and God’s truth which can never fail. I suggested that she just be honest with God and tell him how she feels.
After I left, I continued to think about how easy it is for any of us to drift away from the peaceful harbor of hope and encouragement and how important it is to keep a positive perspective and remain focused on God’s promises.
The opposite of peace is being anxious and many times we experience fear and worry when we are uncertain of what is going to happen. This negative energy has the intention to consume us and control our mind and will continue to haunt us until we choose to battle against it. Spiritual warfare is a reality and it’s the believer’s responsibility to call on the Lord for help as we defend against the darkness of panic, pity, and depression.
Living in peace is not something that happens naturally, but rather is a learned behavior. People or circumstances cannot dictate our thoughts, we choose our response and reaction. We talk about our need to trust God and how we must stand strong in the times of adversity, but this state of mind will require persistent prayer and self-discipline. Faith believes that God can see into the future and that nothing surprises him which includes him understanding the trials we are going through and all of the situations we will encounter.
Being convinced that Christ will provide for us along with accepting that his power is greater than any problem that might threaten us can bring comfort and assurance. Constantly reminding ourselves that God listens to us and that he is aware of everything that is going on in our lives can help us to trust and rest in his perfect peace. Psalm 29:11 promises, “The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.”
There is no greater confidence or joy than to be filled with God’s peace. Spiritual peace is far beyond our physical emotions as his ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His peace is stronger than our fears and chases away our worries and anxieties as it floods our heart with courage and fortitude. Jesus is victorious and his promises are guaranteed to quiet our soul and replace our restlessness with his safety and contentment. Proverbs 3:24 reminds us, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
One of the many names for Jesus is the Prince of peace and soon, He will return and establish his kingdom of peace for all eternity. We rejoice in this truth and look forward to experiencing the freedom from conflict and fear, but we do not need to wait until then to embrace this lifestyle of calmness. If we choose to abide in God’s presence no matter how intense the storms are raging, we are supported under the shadow of his protection. The world growing darker and chaos increasing cannot limit or diminish our hope and peace.
It is only when we drift away from his truth and lean on our own understanding that we become troubled and perplexed. The Lord is giving us an offer that we must not refuse which is to give him our worries in exchange for the tranquility of his presence. Listen to Paul’s encouragement found in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
WILLIAM F. HOLLAND JR., D., C.ED.D, is a Christian minister/chaplain in Nicholasville, Ky. See more at billyholidayministries.com.