Summary: Jesus promised us peace even in the midst of troubled times.
As Christians we experience situations that could bring perplexity and turmoil. Jesus never said we would no longer have trials after making a decision to follow Him. He did, however, leave a promise that we could experience peace because of Him. By applying three elements found in scripture, believers can experience the peace of God in their lives.
I. RELEASE the burden
The first element in experiencing peace is to release the burden. God alone is able to make a way in difficult situations. He has the power to sustain, deliver, preserve, and heal His people. It is vital that we know how to tap into His presence to receive His peace in duress.
A. Prayer allows us to transfer our burdens onto the Lord (I Pet. 5:7)
Prayer is the means by which we release our burdens to God. I Peter 5:7 instructs us to cast our cares on him, for he cares for us. There are two areas in our lives that are effected when we encounter difficulty.
Let’s read Philippians 4, verses 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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
1. “Heart” - affections, emotions
The reference to heart here means: our emotions, feelings, and affections. What happens when we are in the midst of perplexing circumstances? Our emotions are affected. These include: confusion, doubt, fear, anxiety, sadness, and despair. This wide range of emotions make us feel like we are on a roller coaster. Our emotions can change just as quickly as Missouri weather. And, it effects our ability to make sound decisions.
2. “Minds” - thoughts, logic, the place we reason things out
Our minds are also effected. This is our thoughts - the place where logic and reasoning occur. When stress is present, our minds immediately work overtime trying to find a solution. This can lead to burnout, physical problems such as migraine headaches, stomachaches, ulcers. It can also cause us not to enjoy life.
Philippians 4 shows that through prayer, we receive the peace of God. This protects our hearts and minds from the turmoil of heavy burdens.
B. Prayer is both prevention and cure.
Prayer is a means of both prevention and cure. With prevention, it maintains your inner sanctum so problems do not cause peace to flee. Psychological studies have proven that people who pray are less likely to need counseling. Their mental welfare is healthier than those who do not pray. Isaiah 9:6b says, “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Prayer brings healing cures to the ailments of mankind - mental, spiritual, physical, emotional. James 5:13 says “If any among you is afflicted, let him pray.“
Alexis Carrel said, “As a physician, I have seen men, after all other therapy had failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer.” Regardless of the circumstances, prayer can restore peace.
II. RELY on God
The second element to experiencing peace is to rely on God. This is done through trust. This word means “to flee for protection; to confide in; have hope, make refuge.” Fleeing to someone for protection signifies a reliance on that person for help or aid. It means putting your welfare into their hands. The question is: who will you trust?
A. Trust is an active decision that we make
Trust is a decision that we make and carry out. It is an act of our will. God doesn’t force us trust in Him. He compels us to trust in Him. He gives us examples in scripture and performs works in our lives to show that he can be trusted. Essentially, we must choose to trust in Him. Let us join the writer of Psalm 31: 14 who said “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
B. What trust requires
Trust requires several things of us.
1. Waiting on God for His solutions and His timing (Sarah, Hagar - Gen. 16)
It requires waiting on God for His solutions and His timing. Once we have given over our cares and decided to trust Him, we have to wait. We don’t always like to wait. We want our solutions now.
Genesis 16 is a perfect example of what happens when people get impatient. Sarah and Abraham had been promised a child. Sarah grew weary waiting on the promise and devised her own plan. As a result, her handmaiden conceived a son through Abraham. We all know what happened! It ended up in disaster when God’s real promise came through. Perhaps there is something that God has promised you. Are you getting impatient? God’s solutions come in His timing. Wait for God‘s Plan because its the best one.