“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalms 119:165, NIV).
Peace. Elusive, oft-sought but rarely found. What does it mean? To me, peace is a deep sense of calm, well-being, and wholeness, even in the midst of the storms and chaos of life. Peace is what keeps me centered and steady when the dramatic winds of life swirl around me, trying to knock me off balance. But where does this peace come from?
Recently I was talking with a friend who is struggling with her relationship with her husband. She reiterated all of her frustrations and I sensed that she was giving up. In an effort to help her refocus, I suggested that instead of rehearsing all the negatives in her life, she should start journaling all the things she has to be thankful for. I gave her a simple gratitude journal to get her started. I explained that when we are giving thanks, it’s next to impossible to stay focused on the bad things happening in our lives. And thankfulness activates peace.
Priscilla Shirer, in The Armor of God, writes: “When we choose thankful prayer over wallowing in anxiety and worry, we are demonstrating an unwavering trust in God. Prayer shrouded in gratitude expresses a firm faith. Concentrating on Him instead of being absorbed by our circumstances tells the Lord that we believe He is able to override and overcome even the most difficult issues” (111).
As we approach the celebration of a holiday we call “Thanksgiving”, may we be more mindful of the connection between thankfulness and peace. When we feel anxiety and worry creeping into our hearts, may we take it as our cue to approach the throne of grace with an attitude of gratitude. As we do, that great peace that passes all understanding will begin to guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
“May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thess. 3:16, HCSB).