God’s providential care frees us from the stress and burdens of life. As His adopted children, we are not left as orphans but are instead entrusted to His care in all things. He is the sovereign God over the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, neither of which fall victim to worry because He sees to them. So why do we fret, though we are of much greater worth? Has our heavenly Father remembered them only to forget about us? Of course not. Rather, Jesus beckons weary and heavy-laden souls to come to Him for rest, and that rest manifests itself in a calm assurance that all is well—regardless of our circumstances.
As the pastor of my local congregation, I raise my hands each Sunday and pronounce the benediction on the people of God, often using the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6: “The LORD bless you and keep you . . . the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (vv. 24–26). Yet, everyone leaves the worship service and enters a world that is anything but peaceful. Our personal lives are chaotic, stressful, and filled with worry, and almost immediately, those words of blessing seem to fade as we navigate our days, trying to juggle what life throws our way. We love the idea of peace, but it is often elusive and seemingly far from us.
Typically, people’s sense of peace is based on how they are feeling, or it is dictated by their circumstances. This wrong metric leads to people thinking that more peace can be achieved simply by self-effort or by obtaining better life conditions. However, the peace that the Bible speaks of has little to do with the daily experiences of life—or how we feel about them.
The familiar Hebrew word for peace, shalom, conveys the idea of wholeness; it refers to wellness in both body and soul. The New Testament writers, while maintaining the idea of shalom, rightly emphasize the need for harmony and unity in our relationships with one another. These two concepts together demonstrate that neither the internal peace within nor the external peace without is innate in this fallen world.