John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Isaiah 26:3-4 – Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace – in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
In the study Practising Peace, produced by our denomination a couple of years back, the author tells about a commercial from years ago which began: "Do you wake up more tired than when you went to bed? Do you lack energy to do the things you'd like to do? You may be suffering from (listen for the pause) Gray sickness."
The commercial went on to offer a cure – some kind of pill to take the edge off the pressure. Many of us today suffer from a gray sickness with symptoms of severe pain, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, or despondency. We call all this "excess stress" or even distress, but all of this is the absence of inner peace – a real peace beginning with ourselves and radiating out in ripples to affect ever-widening relationships, and for the Christian, our real focus is our relationship with God.
Who am I to talk today about inner peace? I who know so very little peace in my own life. What can I say? What can I offer?
I can offer these passages of peace and promises of peace and the assurance of the power of peace as I know it and experience it daily.
I can offer a simple sentence prayer that has seen me through the worst:
Prayer: In the storms of life, O Christ, give me your peace and I shall be content. Nothing matters as much as your presence. Teach me to be still and know you, that I may no longer fear the storms of life, for you are the Lord of all. Amen.