THE PEACE OF GOD, which surpasses all understanding, should preside
in the hearts of all who have grasped the glories and grandeurs of our God, especially
those who acknowledge Him as the only Creator and Reconciler of the universe. He commenced
all and He can bring it to its consummation. But, more than this, all is not only out of
Him and for Him, but it is also through Him. Not only the past and the future, but the
present is His concern. He is not unmindful of the stress and strain, the sorrow and the
sighing, the confusion and the conflict which surrounds us now. Let us not be moved by
these things, as though the reins had dropped from His hands, or His heart felt no concern
in the tiny tribulations of this nether scene.
We have our trials in common with the world, from which we hear, above the din of the
daily grind, above the hullabaloo of the medicine men who have remedies for all of earth's
varied ills, above the roar of the cannon on the fighting lines, a despairing but
persistent cry of "Peace! Peace!" when there is no peace. We need not deceive
ourselves as to this peace, or accept the marvelous fable that the pacific dove can only
live and thrive in the iron hulls of dreadnoughts and tanks, and in air perfumed with
powder and poison and flame. Armaments are not a sure antidote against warfare. We know
that the world can wish for peace, but it must prepare for war, for that is soon to appear
on God's program. This is not our peace. Indeed, our peace depends, in measure, upon the
world's lack of it, for it rests on God's Word, which predicts the opposite.
We have our trials in fellowship with those whom God has called out of the world. In
godless Russia many thousands have lost all, and at last their very lives, merely because
they belonged to Him. Thousands have escaped and are scattered in various parts of the
world, seeking to gain a livelihood. Many a believer in other lands has had to suffer for
his faith. Even in so-called Christian lands the strife in the nominal churches, or
between the church and state, has led to much unrest. Catholics are thrust out of Mexico.
A part of the Protestant clergy in Germany is seeking to repudiate the Hebrew Scriptures
and some denounce even the epistles of Paul.
Beyond all this there is a special danger to the peace of those whose privilege it is
to learn a little of the deeper things of God. Their own fellow sufferers for Christ and
for His Word are disturbed when we present for their faith truth long lost, and now not
only unknown but despised. They remind us that these things disturb the peace of the
saints and, therefore, cannot be of God. They exhort us not to make His glories known,
lest we divide His own, and bring further strife into the household of the saints. They
want no disturbance, for they fear that God cannot work in the midst of confusion.
How contrary is this to fact and truth? When has the greatest progress been made in the
things of God? In times of stagnation, or in times of stress? In the upheavals of a
reformation or in the stale sessions of an established church? Let us not be disturbed
when God's glorious truth brings trouble in its train. So it has ever been. It should not
disturb us. Nay, it should be our delight to see God's spirit at work convicting,
troubling sinners, and convincing, distressing saints. These are but the pangs of
progress, the precursory pains which must ever be the prelude to light and peace. Just as
evil as a whole will eventuate in good, so also will these temporary and local ills leads
to a knowledge of God, which is the only sure foundation of lasting peace.
We are reminded of the sons of Israel in Egypt, when Moses and Aaron came to lead them
out. What was the first effect? Because they demanded that the people leave Egypt to
worship Jehovah in the wilderness, Pharaoh increased their burdens, and they had to rake
together their own straw for the bricks they made. Their superintendents were smitten, and
they went to Pharaoh, without avail. Then they encounter Moses and say to him,
"Jehovah will see to you! And He will judge him who makes the smell of us stink in
the eyes of Pharaoh . . . " Poor Moses, he was a trouble maker. Most of us can
sympathize with him. So he goes to Jehovah and says, "Jehovah, why dost Thou bring
evil to this people? Why this? Thou didst send me!"
At first, the message of light and deliverance often makes matters far worse, and God
does not step in to hinder it, for this evil is a necessary part of His purpose. But, in
due time, God dealt with Pharaoh, and the people were delivered with a great deliverance.
Let us take this to heart. We have a marvelous message for God's dear people. In most
cases it brings with it effects the very opposite of those which it promises. Our message
brings unsurpassed peace--but it usually starts by stirring up strife. We have the true
basis of unity--yet, at first, it may cause division. It displays and evokes in us the
utmost grace and love. But its appearance may provoke exhibitions more nearly allied with
detestation and hate. However, as in the case of Moses, God is only preparing for the
display of His own glory by provoking its opposite at the start.
Let us not follow the example of Israel and berate God's servants when their message
seems to bear contradictory fruits at first. Nor let us be like Moses, and actually take
God to task for not fulfilling His promises. God sent Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt,
and who will deny that He did it? We usually forget the first disappointment. So let us
not be disturbed by the effect of our endeavors to make known God's glorious grace to
sinner and to saint. Salvation through the blood is worth all the inconvenience it may
cost. So also no amount of persecution or persuasion should keep us from proclaiming the
grander glories of our God.
Just as, in the midst of the world's unrest, we may be at perfect peace, so also, in
the midst of the whirlpool of theological distress, we may rest serene and unafraid,
confident that God's hand is at the helm of our frail craft, and no current is too strong
for Him to stem, no waves too violent for Him to pacify. He may seem to sleep, and have no
care lest we perish, but how can He calm the storm if it does not arise? Let men rant and
rage and roar! That is their part, and they must play it. All will subside when God's time
comes to calm the commotion. Some of His saints seek to keep the storm from coming. Others
fill their lungs with air and blow with all their puny might against it. Let us sit by,
unafraid, and see the salvation of the Lord. Let us at least come up to the standard of
Job, and bless His name for the evil we receive at His hands.
The preciousness of our peace springs from the surrounding turmoil. Let us look upon
the trials and the tumults, the opposition and the persecution, the strife and the hatred
as all from God. Let us not seek to keep Him out of it by lamely alleging that He allows
it. It is, indeed, contrary to His will, but necessary for His purpose. Let us value it
accordingly. We should not merely endure it, but thank God for it. Then, instead of
disturbing and destroying our peace, it will contribute to it.
Peace is to be found only in God. He is the only stable and immovable point in the
universe. Yet it is possible for all to be at peace in Him. As sinners we received peace with
God through the blood of Christ.
As saints it is our privilege to go far beyond this, and to enjoy the peace of
God. God is not worried as to the outcome of His eonian travail with His creatures. He
knows all beforehand. But that is because every single detail of the present is not only
within His control, but it fulfills its microscopic mission in preparing for and bringing
about the grand consummation He has in view. That will be a time of perfect peace, but it
could never be enjoyed or appreciated without the preceding panic of the present. Israel
must suffer in Egypt before she can sing on the shores of the Red Sea. And God could dwell
among them only as among a redeemed race.
May the peace of God preside in our hearts, not in spite of the unrest in the
world and the strife among the saints, but because of it! The God out of
Whom all is, and into Whom all tends, now operates all, and especially the evil, so
that, in the consummation, His creatures will know good because of their experience of
evil and will be able to praise and adore Him in a degree worthy of His Name and
satisfying to His heart. Let us live in the realization that all is through
Him now. Only thus may we really share God's own peace--the peace of God.
[*Originally an untitled
Editorial in January 1935 Unsearchable Riches]