On the Peace of His Presence
This is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
The flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.-Isaiah 43:1-5
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
And says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.-Isaiah 41:10,13
God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."-Hebrews 13:5
Everybody is looking for peace. Once Jesus spoke to a storm and stilled it, but on another occasion in the midst of a storm of the fears of his friends, he said simply, "I'm here. Take courage. Don't be afraid" (Matt. 14:27). Then he commanded his friend Peter to walk toward him right in the midst of the storm that tested his faith. The point is this: Jesus does not remove all the storms even of his friends, but he is present in them with us. In fact, he comes walking on top of them to demonstrate to us that he has reasons for them and to show us his greater glory. Sometimes the footprints of his presence are not obvious: "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen" (Ps. 77:19). Even then, the wind and the waves are under his feet that were later nail-pierced for us.
Why is peace a prayer issue? Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, coupled prayer inseparably with peace that passes understanding. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).
When did you sense God's presence the strongest? Was it at the emergency room with a child with a concussion? Was it when a doctor gravely told you that you needed surgery? Was it through the hours of a loved one's last days? Was it when a friend betrayed you? Was it when you could not see the future but trusted that God was guiding? Were these time of his presence challenging or sweet, or both? In times like those, Jesus calls you blessed. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:49). The psalmist summed it up: "You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Ps. 16:11).
God's peace is one of the benefits of our covenant relationship with God. Do you enjoy the benefit of his covenant of peace? Do you want to begin enjoying the peace of His presence to the maximum? Pray and tell him so.
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