You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror , for it shall not come near you. Isaiah 54:14  

Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27  

Peace is something that sounds wonderful. For those in a war setting, certainly peace and no more war would be fantastic. Peace of course is more than the absence of war and actual fighting. It can be the absence of noise – as in “peace and quiet.” Yesterday morning there was a machine cutting lines in our streets, then a truck washing the street a couple times, followed by workers putting down tar. That was noisy and not peaceful at 7:15 AM. This morning it has been peaceful, quiet, cool and sunny. A perfect day!  

Yet we do not always have perfect days, or even parts of days. There are so many things that can breaks into our peace. Lots of anxiety about the COVID pandemic, for those who have lost jobs, or can’t find work in their field. There may be illness from acute to chronic conditions that weigh a person down for a long time. Anxiety among those without affordable housing,  among the special visa refugees coming in from Afghanistan, for children at our southern border. There is fear of how we can possibly deal with all these problems.   

Isaiah reassures his listeners with promises from God – they shall not fear, and terror will not come near them. That must have sounded good to people who had been exiled as they finally can return to their homeland. God promises to keep the fear away from them.  Jesus also says we will have His peace. Spoken as He is telling the disciples that He must leave them, this peace is given freely, no need to earn it. It is not a gift as we think of in the world, but it is a peace that eliminates fear. No worry is too big for our God and Savior to handle. We only need to pray and remember God’s promises, trust in God and ask Him to handle our fears and anxiety.   

As the song says: 

I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river
I've got peace like a river in my soul  

Strong and peaceful God, Help us be at peace in your grace without worrying about earning what you give freely. The truth of your cross means we do not need to save ourselves.  We thank you for the peace that surpasses all understanding and the assurance of your divine protection. Help us, we pray, to be a channel of your peace wherever we go. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.  

Chris Gabel