“Peace, Perfect Peace”

As we come to July 4th celebrations and hear about all the tensions in our world today, the story of Joshua assuming leadership in the shadow of Moses’ memory, leading the Israelites across the Jordan River, and then leading them into battle at Jericho reminds us that things like troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and all the uncertainty on the news is not new news.  The search for peace seems to be a universal quest.  We are comforted by John 16:33 where Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

         The hymn “Peace, Perfect Peace” was written by an English Anglican minister, Edward Bickersteth, Jr while vacationing in 1875.  He was deeply touched hearing a sermon on Isaiah 26:3.  “Thou wilt keep him in peace, peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”  Isaiah repeated the word “peace” twice so Bickersteth emphasized this repeat by coining “peace, perfect peace.”   That afternoon he visited a dying relative and read the lyrics he had jotted down which take the form of five questions with five answers.

  • Peace, perfect peace — in this dark world of sin?  The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
  • Peace, perfect peace — by thronging duties pressed?  To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
  • Peace, perfect peace—with sorrows surging round?  On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.
  • Peace, perfect peace—with loved ones far away?  In Jesus’ keeping, we are safe, and they.
  • Peace, perfect peace—our future all unknown?  Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

As you celebrate this weekend and ponder the realities of our world, may you find perfect peace in trust that God is with you.

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