The dictionary’s definition of peace states that peace is: 1) a state of tranquility or quiet; 2) freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; 3) harmony in personal relations; 4) a state of concord or tranquility.
I call this worldly peace. This kind of peace can only exist in the absence of difficult situations. As it relates to the above definition: 1) absence of noise or commotion; 2) absence of oppressive thoughts or emotions; 3) absence of strife; 4) absence of discord.
God’s peace which is referred to in Philippians 4:7 can coexist with the most difficult situations. That is because God’s peace is transcendent – it rises above both the circumstance and understanding. The dictionary’s definition for transcend is: 1) to rise above or go beyond the ordinary limits of; 2) to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects; 3) to be prior to, beyond, and above (the universe or material existence); 4) to outstrip or outdo in some attribute, quality, or power
I have personally experienced this peace several times in my life. My first experience with the peace of God happened 3 weeks after I accepted Christ into my life. I received a phone call on a Saturday afternoon from my first husband’s girlfriend - that is when I found out my husband had been having an affair for several weeks.
Another time was when my son, Byron, was born. The doctors gave him less than a 50% chance of living and said if he made it the first 72 hours of life, he would live. I remember going home from the hospital and sleeping soundly between hours 48 and 60 – knowing beyond any doubt that if we lost Byron, God would see me through it.
Another time was when Byron had his first open heart surgery at age 2 – I remember him being wheeled on the bed into the operating room and he had to pass through these double doors that had two teddy bears painted on them waving to the people on the outside of the operating room. Of course we were at a Children’s hospital. While we waited in the family room I had such a peace that I was able to work on my Sunday School lessons for the next week. This peace was not centered on Byron surviving these situations, it was centered on God taking care of me no matter what happened.
And most recently when Byron passed away. I felt God’s peace once again in the hours we spent saying good by to Byron as he lay passed in the hospital room.
There have been other times I have experienced this peace of God but this is only a blog, not a book, so I will limit my shared experiences. According to the definition of worldly peace, I should not have had peace at any of these times. But God is greater than this world and His love and His power and His care extend beyond all we know in our finite world.