Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Jesus told his troubled followers in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Exactly what manner of peace was Christ offering here? He didn’t say “a peace” he said “my peace.” It was the kind of peace that could fall asleep in the back of a boat and sleep through a storm. It was the kind of peace that could go to a garden to pray, knowing he would be betrayed, captured, tried, beaten and crucified. The kind of peace that could face even the cruelest of deaths and still have the compassion and composure to tell one last repenting sinner, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
It was this peace that held together the heart and mind of church reformer Bishop Nicholas Ridley. On October 15th 1555 in Oxford, England, Bishop Ridley sat down for his last meal before being burned at the stake for his opposition to Catholic Church doctrines.
As he sat at the table a lady began to weep for him, to which he replied “Quiet yourself: though my breakfast shall be somewhat sharp and painful, yet I am sure my supper shall be more pleasant and sweet” (speaking of his being in heaven with Christ after his death). After dinner his brother told him he would sit up through the night and talk with him until his execution the next morning. Bishop Ridley confidently replied “No, no, that you shall not. For I mind God willing to go to bed, and to sleep as quietly tonight, as ever I did in my life.” It is only through the most intense trials that we experience the most tranquil peace. If Dr. Ridley could sleep peaceful on the night of his execution, of such a horrible death; surely God can give peace for whatever trials we face today.
The peace that comes from God is beyond our understanding. It lies deeper and goes far beyond the comprehension of even the most learned of men. This kind of peace is eagerly sought after by many but experienced by only a few. But to them who will put their faith in the person of Jesus Christ and walk with him through the Valley of Hardship, it is they who will savor the taste of this exquisite peace.