Speaking to the Soul – May 15

Gift of peace

“Those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked,” says my God. Isaiah 57:20-21

It was Augustine of Hippo (354–430) in his famous Confessions who observed: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.” There is no doubt that Augustine was reflecting on his own experience. He had lived a promiscuous life before he became a Christian at the age of 31 and had lurched from one philosophy to another. He knew how tempestuous and unsatisfying life was when lived his own way. It was clearly a matter of joy and relief when, through the friendship of Bishop Ambrose, he found personal faith in Christ.

I wonder if, like me, you enjoy watching waves crashing onto the beach. The power of the water is a wonderful sight; Isaiah uses this as a picture of those who rebel against God. They have chosen a life of restlessness. Sadly, they know no lasting peace. We are surrounded by advertisements which suggest the route to peace, and there are endless philosophies and religions that hold out the offer of harmony and contentment. But the reality is that, though they may work for a short while, they can never offer lasting peace.

Jesus offers peace to his followers that springs from a relationship with him. Jesus said: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). Whenever we feel a restlessness we should make sure that we turn our attention to Jesus and centre ourselves afresh on him. If we are willing to give up our restlessness and rest in him, we will find him to be the Prince of Peace.

What has been your own experience of Jesus’ peace?

Forgive me Lord for those times when I have missed out on your peace and allowed the challenges and temptations of life to distract me and make me restless. I gladly receive your gift of peace. Amen