Written by Andrew Russell
I am a father of four young kids ranging from age two-and-a-half to ten. As you can imagine, our house is not a quiet environment. The walls are constantly reverberating with the sounds of our kids playing happily or arguing and screaming. The littlest one chases her older brother down the hallway with her favourite stuffed animal in hand.
Our house is a place full of joy, fun and smiles. It’s also a place of hurt and tears. Our entire lives are like that, aren’t they? We can have great moments of being full of joy; the next moment we’re crying at the kitchen table because the bills are stacking up and the pressure of this pandemic is beginning to pile on and crush us.
When our house gets too noisy and chaotic and I need to find a peaceful space, it’s usually in my bedroom. I close and lock the door, put on noise-cancelling headphones, and play worship music. In fact that is where I am right now, typing this article.
When you think of the word “peace,” maybe the word “quiet” also comes to mind. Those two words seem to go hand in hand like coke and popcorn at a movie.
I’ve learned, though, that peace is so much more than quiet. In my experience peace isn’t quiet at all. The peace God brings us isn’t noise-cancelling. It doesn’t block out the sounds of this chaotic world.
The peace we see in Scripture is the Lord’s promise to hold us as the noise rages on in our lives. Peace is so much more than the absence of chaos; it is the Lord being present with us in the midst of that chaos. This concept is powerfully captured in a painting called Peace in the Midst of the Storm by Christian artist Jack E. Dawson.
The painting portrays an intense storm above a cliff of rocks. Lightning crashes and waters pour over the rocks below. Words like “chaos” or “power” would probably come to mind. You can almost hear the pounding rain and the crack of lightning.
As you look closer, though, you’ll see a little cleft in the rocks where a bird is lying peacefully. In my opinion, Dawson hit the nail on the head with this portrayal of peace. Although the picture is of a crazy storm, and you can almost hear the terrifying noise and feel the pounding rain pour down, this bird is at peace.
It shows us that peace isn’t quiet. Peace is knowing the Lord’s arms are around us as the storms of life hit us. Peace is God’s presence in the midst of all we face. It is the little child crawling into his or her parent’s lap, awakened by the sound of thunder shaking the house. Parents can’t stop the storm going on, but they can hold their children in the midst of it.
God is our heavenly Father who holds us in His mighty arms of peace and gives us assurance that we’re going to be okay. He is working in the middle of all the difficult trials we’re facing. This world cannot give us true peace. It can only give us noise-cancelling headphones that give temporary escape and solace.
But that sort of peace just numbs us for a while, whereas God’s peace surpasses anything the world offers. We read about God’s gift of peace in the Gospel of John. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT).
We can only have peace because of the God we serve. It’s an amazing gift He gives to us while we live in this dark and noisy world. He is the Prince of Peace and He promises His peace to His children. And His peace doesn’t silence the storm or cause quiet to prevail over it. It is the Father with us, holding us. We don’t need peace and quiet. We just need Him.