Peace in God's Presence
I once read, “Peace is not the absence of conflict.” When I stop and really reflect upon that statement, I realize that peace is never found in people, places, things, or circumstances because conflict is inevitable. God, and God alone is peace. We can only experience true peace when we are in the presence of God. If we want to live in peace, then we must learn to live in the presence of God.
In the Old Testament, we understand that a person could not enter the presence of God, that is to have direct, face-to-face contact and continue to live (Exodus 33:20). This is because of the incredible, indescribable glory that radiates from his presence alone. We learn through the example of Moses that he had to be hidden in the cleft of a rock and covered by the hand of God, only allowed to look upon the back of God (Exodus 33:22-23).
The first and only biblical reference to Jehovah Shalom, which means “The Lord is Peace,” is found in the sixth chapter of the book of Judges. When Gideon had an encounter with the Angel of the Lord, the angel tells him, “Peace be with you, do not be afraid.” After this exchange, Gideon builds God an altar and names it, “The Lord is Peace.” This theophany experience with God caused Gideon to not only receive the peace of God, but also empowered him to display strength and authority as he destroyed the altar of Baal. From the Hebrew, we learn that the word “shalom” means peace; to be whole without anything missing or lacking; to be complete. Peace may not be the absence of experiencing conflict on earth, but it is the absence of strife within your spirit.
From Moses we know that we can become a friend of God so intimate with him, that he invites us into his presence. In his presence, we can encounter his glory. From Gideon, we know that God’s presence brings us into his peace. We never have to be afraid, because being with him refreshes us to go forth and triumph in victory over every problem or conflict we may have to face. Even when you have to confront situations head on in life, be confident in knowing that God’s peace is with you. He leads us by his peace to be bold ambassador and not passive people-pleasers. Daily as we are in his presence, he strengthens our spirit and soul. God told Moses, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:14).
As you deal with people, places, things, and circumstance in life there are no guarantees that every experience will be conflict free. However, that does not mean that you have to live in constant strife. We should live in constant peace because we are constantly living in the presence of God. We take his presence with us every place we go and into every circumstance we encounter. Therefore, we never lose our peace and we can always be at rest within our spirit and soul. Never allow anyone or anything to take you out of the presence of God or to relinquish your peace. The peace of God is not as of this world, and cannot be compared to anything this world can offer. Stay connected to God and be at peace!