I don't know about you, but I can be a stress bunny - so much so that my husband bought me bunny ears to wear. I worry about everything. I worry about work, the family, the house, my health. When I make a decision, I wonder if it's the right one. I even worry about the increasing speed of each passing year.
Then God reassured me I don't have to live this way. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life..." He says in Matthew 6:25(NIV). God promises many wonderful gifts. He promises us salvation, eternal life, joy, fulfillment and even peace. The thing about God is that we can trust everything He tells us. So, it's true: I don't have to worry, I can experience joy, I can be content and I can find peace.
So why don't I feel this peace?
The key of course lies in the definition. When God promises us peace, He doesn't mean a sixties movement. He doesn't mean that everyone should agree with everyone about everything. Neither does He mean we should stand back and watch our sister or brother fall because we would rather avoid confrontation or awkward situations. Jesus reassured his disciples in John 14:27 (NIV) - "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." It's a peace not of this world, but a peace of the inner spirit that can only come from God and has nothing to do with our worldly situations.
To receive joy, contentment and peace there is only one condition: we must accept these promised gifts by responding to God. It's much like getting a voucher for a free gift in the mail. All we have to do is go to the store to pick it up. Sounds simple enough. But the problem is 90% of those vouchers are never redeemed. It might be because it's inconvenient, we're too busy, we forget about the voucher or time runs out. Likewise, we must redeem God's promises. God's gift of peace is ours for the taking if we turn to God and claim this free gift.
I need to remind myself that there's no need to be a stress bunny or a worry wart. Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV): "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."