Day 19: The Gift of Peace

“I love to work for God in the daytime, and at night to lie down under his smiles,” Sarah Edwards (wife of theologian Jonathan Edwards) once commented. 

What a beautiful statement! And yet, for several years, I struggled with it. I desperately wanted to be able to say I felt God smiling at me, and yet my experience was far different. Every night as I went to sleep, I thought back on how much I had failed that day. Even if I hadn’t committed any “big sins,” I was still nothing close to the kind of Christian I wanted to be. So, night after night, I told myself I would try harder the next day, and perhaps someday I would feel God’s smiles.

How wrong I was! Although I knew in my head that we are saved by faith alone and no works, I was living as if my performance merited God’s smiles. So if I didn’t have a long enough quiet time, or think of him enough through the day, or love him perfectly, then he must be displeased with me.

It was Romans, especially Romans 5:1 that helped set me free: “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” As that truth slowly sunk into my mind – and my life — I began to understand that through Christ, I am already at peace with God! His smiles are on me, regardless of whether or not I had a perfect day, because He sees only Christ’s righteousness on my behalf. 

Christ, the “Prince of Peace,” has come to give us something far greater than a world without war, or unified politics, or lack of family conflict. He has reconciled us to God. And if I am at peace with God, I can have inner peace to face whatever conflict living in this broken world entails.

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