What Is the Price of Peace?

The Price Tag

Give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1 (NLT)

The body of assassinated president Abraham Lincoln lay in state at the Illinois State House in Springfield on May 4, 1865. The grief and fear of the entire nation permeated the room. Then the voices of a 250-member choir dispelled that darkness as they sang Samuel Ecking’s hymn, “Peace, Troubled Soul”[1]:

Peace, troubled soul, thou need’st not fear;
Thy great Provider still is near;
Who fed thee last, will feed thee still:
Be calm, and sink into His will.

Lincoln, along with 620,000 soldiers and unnumbered civilians, had paid the ultimate price to restore peace to the nation.[2]  But when would personal peace—peace in each person’s soul—be restored?

Ecking’s lyrics answered that question with words that both soothe and chafe the disquieted soul. Yes, personal peace is possible, but it is costly. First, as the stanza cited above states, we must “sink into His will.” We must stop trying to analyze and rationalize; we must rest in the knowledge that God is in control. Ecking explained it this way:

Without reserve give Christ your heart,
Let Him His righteousness impart;
Then all things else He’ll freely give;
With Him you all things shall receive.

That’s the chafing part, isn’t it? We don’t want to give Christ our heart “without reserve.” We want to retain some control, some authority, some bargaining chip. But the price of personal peace is high. It is spiritual death. “I am crucified with Christ,” Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20.

Personal peace is elusive. I wrestle with fear and worry often. But I understand the fault is mine, not God’s. As someone once observed about Romans 12:1, “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps trying to crawl off the altar.” And I do. Daily.

But Jesus renews His offer daily: “Come to me … and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). That is the price of personal peace: come to Jesus, give Him your heart without reserve, and sink into His will. If we do, what do we gain?

Thus shall the soul be truly blest,
That seeks in God his only rest;
May I that happy person be,
In time and in eternity.

Are we willing to pay the price of peace?

DIG DEEPER:

Read Romans 12:1-21. When we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, what attitudes and actions will characterize our transformed lives and renewed minds? How will this renewal promote peace in our hearts, families, and churches?

Read Romans 5:1-11. What price did Jesus pay to bring us “peace with God”? What is your response to so great a sacrifice?

To find our “only rest” in God, as Ecking suggests, is difficult. Read Psalm 62. What truths helped David to find his rest in God alone? You may also want to read this devotion on Psalm 62: Hope under Dig into Words.

 Denise K. Loock

[1] http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/p/t/ptrosoul.htm

[2] A more recent study estimates the number at 850,000: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/faq/

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