Over the past three weeks the theme of the sermons at Centerpointe have revolved around peace: “Peace I Can Live With.” You can listen to the messages at www.centerpointechurch.com.
The messages are based out of the passage found in Philippians 4:4-9 with an emphasis on the words, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
These are not just messages studied, but also lived. I’ve been thinking about this passage for over ten years now, ever since my daughter, Stephanie who was ten at the time, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It was a dark year for us, but God brought us through and eventually healed her.
Over the years my wife, Esther, and I have watched many walk through the “valley of the shadow of death.” One church I had the privilege of pastoring for eight years sat next door to a hospital, and every day I was reminded that there are people in pain, looking for peace.
I have also watched people try to console those going through pain as though they knew the issue would be resolved by tomorrow. I stood next to many coffins and heard many comments about how things were going to be fine: well-meaning thoughts but careless words.
God’s Word tells us that peace is possible, even in the toughest moments. This I know to be true.
Everyone goes through storms and each storm is significant for the person going through it. There are relationship storms, financial storms, health storms, occupational storms, etc. Sometimes the storms are momentary and sometimes they last for a very long time.
Over the last decade I have discovered that peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God while we are going through our trouble.
I have also learned that peace is not the same as ecstasy, or temporary experiences that make us feel good for the moment, but an inner stability and assurance that reminds us that God is in control.
More than these lessons, I have learned that real peace only comes when we get to know the Prince of Peace – Jesus. He is the one who has complete authority over the peace we can experience.
Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the Rock eternal" (NIV).
So I am now putting in writing my thoughts, studies, conversations, experiences and messages about this subject. My prayer is that it makes a difference.