When you pass through the water, I will be with you; . . . when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned.Isaiah 43:2
Peace doesn’t look like what we think it should. When I imagine peace, I am sitting by a mountain stream watching the water trickle gently over the cobbles making a peaceful sound.
In the Bible peace looks like passing through a river and not being overwhelmed or walking through a fire and not being burned. More something akin to Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, or the Israelites passing through the Red Sea.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
I first experienced this supernatural peace that passes all understanding when I was in my early 20’s. I remember sitting in a church for a Good Friday service. We were asked to take a few minutes and meditate on the cross. It was evening. The historic downtown sanctuary in Grand Rapids, MI, was dark. The only light present was the spotlight on the empty cross! I was stressed out due to a variety of challenges all colliding at once in my life, but all of a sudden I experienced this supernatural peace. I know everything was going to be alright even though everything was all wrong.
Now that I think about it, I remember experiencing something similar two years prior. It was different, but in the midst of chaos I experienced the presence of Jesus in a real way that I knew H e really existed. Nothing else mattered.
The presence of Jesus surpasses any problem we may experience.
We know, of course, that He never leaves us or forsakes us, but it doesn’t always feel that way.
I remember being in a village in the middle of nowhere in the Dominican Republic. I was part of a delegation to rescue our evangelistic site that had fallen prey to some village hoodlums. The village had a reputation: they had run the Baptist pastor out of town and they had held the priest down and poured alcohol down his throat.
As were waiting to start a service that Sunday morning, a drum roll started, there was shouting in French Creole, and the elders with me said, “we’re leaving right now.” I was completely oblivious to what was happening since I did not speak French Creole, but only later did I find out what the elders had overheard someone saying, “We’ll let them all enter and then we’ll overtake them.” The drum roll was a summons for the village vigilantes to take care of business, so to speak.
There was more to the story. The village witch doctor had cast a spell over the presiding evangelist. The evangelist’s wife was in agonizing prayer over the safety of her husband without knowing the spell that had been cast.
It took me a while to unpack the events of that morning as we moved on to another village nearby to conduct a service there and as all the pieces trickled down to me, but in the midst of it, the Lord impressed upon me the reality of Matthew 28:20: “And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.”
As we go, and do the work of the Gospel, Jesus promises to be with us wherever we go.
Where do you need peace today?
Focus on Jesus, His Presence, and He will give you supernatural peace.
By Ralph Veenstra