|The Peace of Christ|
Elisabeth Elliot: Christ wants to give you and me peace. What is peace? Is it a tangible thing? Is it the absence of noise? Is it geographical? Is it a feeling which comes and goes?
Lisa Barry: Peace is something that everyone seems to be looking for these days, but so few find it. Why is that? Probably because most people are either looking for a feeling exclusively, or else they're looking in all the wrong places.
Well, today on Gateway To Joy, Elisabeth Elliot is going to tell you where all the right places are. In fact, there's only one place where you'll find the peace that passes all understanding. Find out where that is as we embark together on this Tuesday edition of Gateway To Joy. Here's Elisabeth.
Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, talking today about the peace of Christ.
Yesterday I spoke about the presence of Christ. I told you the story of how my great-grandfather was greatly comforted when he was just a little boy after he would go to bed. He was comforted by the knowledge that his father and mother were sitting just across the hall in the lighted sitting room. It wasn't that the little boy was worried because of his surroundings. They were comfortable and familiar. But his true comfort lay in the assurance that his Papa would take care of him. His Papa was there. If the little boy called out to him at night, he would say, "Are you still there, Papa? Are you going to take care of me?" He would hear the reassuring voice.
Christ wants to give you and me peace. What is peace? Is it a tangible thing? Is it the absence of noise? Is it geographical? Is it a feeling which comes and goes? No. I think that the peace of Christ comes with the presence of Christ.
I'm going to read you a story from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 6. "Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida while He dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake and He was alone on the land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them.
About the fourth watch of the night, He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately, He spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I; don't be afraid.' Then He climbed into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves."
It was just shortly before this incident that Jesus had multiplied the loaves of bread for 5,000 people. The disciples' hearts were hardened. The peace of Christ came in the midst of a storm. As Jesus was walking on the water, the disciples were at the point where they were sure that they were going to go to the bottom. They cried out. Some of them thought He was actually a ghost.
It's a perfectly natural panic, isn't it? Can you imagine if you were out on a boat in the nighttime and saw a pale figure in the distance, walking on top of the water? That would be scary. The natural panic, however, of the disciples was in very great contrast to the Son's rest in the knowledge of His Father's presence and power.
He can bring peace to you in whatever storm you may be experiencing right now. How thankful I am for the letters that I've had from people who listen to Gateway To Joy who tell me some of their troubles and trials and tribulations and how, in the midst of those very, very difficult experiences, they have found the presence of Christ and the power of Christ and the peace of Christ.
Have we learned the lesson that Jesus had learned? He could trust His Father. Have we learned the lesson that His disciples had forgotten? Peace comes from Christ Himself and it is a kind of peace that the world can never give. It is peace that passes understanding.
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives." Our loving Lord Jesus wants to come into our lives. There is nowhere else in the whole universe in which true peace, lasting peace, can be found.
I spoke yesterday about the poem that was posted over the bed in our vacation home in New Hampshire, which I loved to read before I went to sleep when I was just a little girl. The last line says, "Thy Maker is thy changeless Friend; His love surrounds thee still." Thy Maker is thy changeless Friend. He does love you. Did you know that? He does understand the trouble that you may be in or your fear of Him, but He loves you and His love surrounds you still.
Rumer Godden, in her book called IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE, is describing a monastery whose motto was "pax," the Latin word for "peace." But the word was set in a circle of thorns. "Peace. But what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort, seldom with a seen result, subject to constant interruptions." I think she's describing here the peace of Christ-the peace that Christ knew even when He was walking here on earth as a human man. His experience was subject to "constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at night, little comfort, sometimes scant food, beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood. Yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love."
He said, "It is My own peace I give to you, not the world's peace." I believe that the peace of Jesus was God's gift to Him because He had no desire but to do the will of the Father. Psalm 119 says, "Peace is the reward of those who love Thy law." Peace is the reward of those who love Thy law.
Do you have God's peace? Where can you find it? Jesus simply says, "Come to Me. I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart."
On January 2, 1956, I received a frightening radio message. It was that my husband, Jim Elliot, was missing along with four other missionaries in the jungle of Ecuador. When I received that message, I was very much aware when Jim had left to go into that dangerous territory, that the chances were rather high that they might be killed. So of course when I heard that they were missing, my heart almost stopped.
But God brought to my mind the words from Isaiah 43:2: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon you, for I am the Lord your God."
I can testify to you today that over the years I have been in many hot fires and deep waters and dark valleys. You've been through some of those yourselves, haven't you? Do you know the peace of Christ, even in the midst of such things?
One of my favorite prayers is posted here in my study where I am recording these programs. It's St. Francis of Assisi's prayer: "Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
Yesterday I read from a hymn, "I Take Thy Promise, Lord." There's this stanza: "Days there may be of darkness and distress when sin has power to tempt and care to press, yet in the darkest day I will not fear, for amid the shadows Thou wilt still be near."
Christ is waiting today for you to invite Him into your heart. He stands at the door and with great courtesy and gentleness He knocks. He will not invade your heart. He is not going to barge into your life and deprive you of the freedom to repel Him, to keep Him away. But He would like to enter into your heart and into your sorrows with you. Will you open that door?
Lisa Barry: Some of you might have so much unrest in your life right now that you don't even know where to begin. Let me suggest a couple of things, if I may. First, develop a daily time of Bible reading and prayer. I'd also recommend Elisabeth's book, A LAMP FOR MY FEET. If you read this book and take up the challenge to be obedient to Christ, your life will never be the same. Some of you might also want the chance to hear this series again. The title is THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST.
For information on either the book, A LAMP FOR MY FEET, or this tape series, you can call us at this toll-free number: 1-800-759-4JOY. That's 1-800-759-4569. Or you can write to us at Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501. Our Internet ministry address is gatewaytojoy.org. Gateway To Joy has been a production of Back to the Bible.
Tomorrow Elisabeth talks about the power of Christ, so be sure and tune in then for another Gateway To Joy.