AUSTIN?A piece of candy serves as a reminder to Martha Lawley about the peace of God. “Now and Later” candies dotted the tables of the Women’s Luncheon at the SBTC annual meeting as a token from Lawley to emphasize her message that the perfect peace of God is for our present
lives and eternity.
That peace, as written in Isaiah 26:3, is promised to all Christians but not easily attained, she said. In the search for perfect peace, Christians often succumb to the deceptions of Satan, missing the peace of God that is before them or continually scurrying about trying to claim a promise that God did not make.
Martha Lawley is the author of the women’s Bible study “Attending the Bride of Christ: Preparing for His Return” and has written for LifeWay Christian Resources’ Women’s Ministry webpage. She also serves as a Women’s Ministry Multiplier for LifeWay.
The verse in Isaiah states: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Lawley said this verse is a “when/then” promise of God. When we keep our minds steadfast on the Lord our God, then he will keep our minds in perfect peace, she said. The search for that peace, she added, “begins in the battlefield of our minds. No wonder the enemy concentrates so much energy on attacking our minds.”
When Christians do not continually remain steadfast on the things of God, she said Satan can trick people into missing their perfect peace by creating confusion and false expectations of God. Those false expectations breed resentment toward God. “Perfect peace,” Lawley said smugly.
“That makes a great greeting card, God.” The reality of life defies the Lord’s promise of peace?or so it would seem. The “now” peace, Lawley explained, “is more about what is present in our lives, not what is absent from our lives.” It is the presence of Christ and not the absence of troubles that is the measure of God’s peace. John 16:33 tells the believer that there will be trouble in this world. It is a fact of life.
But, Lawley added, the verse goes on to say, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” Second Corinthians 4:7-10 speaks to the hardships that will come to Christians. But it also confirms the manifestation of God in the lives of his children as they walk through the fire. The “now” peace of God is not the promise of the absence of trouble in our lives but the promise of the presence of Jesus in the midst of our troubles, she stated.
There is a design, a purpose in our difficulties, Lawley said. “It is so our lives can be a display of his glory.” Christians fall into the trap of believing that God’s promises of peace translate to a trouble-free life and so they doubt God and loose faith at the onset of hardships. It is then, she said, that they miss out on the promise of peace and fall prey to the deceptions of Satan. Lawley said her life once reflected that misconception. She said she was so busy tying to avert difficulties that she missed out on the peace of God that was right in front of her.
It is the lie of Satan that life is something to be muddled through. “Do not,” she emphasized, “expect what God does not promise.”
The peace that comes without troublesand includes the presence of Jesus is thpeace that all believers will ultimately experiencein the “later peace.” The 21st chapter of Revelation gives Christians a glimpse of the peace they will experience when they are finally in the presence of their Lord and the pains and tribulations of their earthly lives are gone, she said
Lawley encouraged the women to remain steadfast in the faith, keeping their minds focused on the things of Christ and to not expect the “later peace” in the here and now.