Fruit of the Spirit: Peace in stressful times

By Kayla Walters

I recently heard a story of a missionary walking into a restaurant in Afghanistan. Within three minutes of sitting, down a waiter approaches him with tears streaming down his face. He asks, “Who are you? What is going on? The minute you walked through the door, I felt an overwhelming peace that I have never felt before!” The missionary smiles and tells the waiter that it is Jesus Christ inviting him to be in a relationship with God. The waiter accepts the Lord as his savior and shares with the missionary that  he had planned on going home and committing suicide that night.

Peace is a marker of a life lived by the Spirit. It is powerful, beautiful, and what God desires for his children at all moments in life. Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful”.

While the story I shared is an extraordinary example of the peace of God, we are called to live a life continually dwelling in the quiet, steady peace that surpasses all understanding. For me this means being calm in situations where I would otherwise be uncomfortable – public speaking, sharing the gospel with strangers, feeling the world's anger even as I live in deep affection for God.

Peace changes how we react. At the beginning of this year I was competing in speech and debate. Before I had given it to God, I had so much anxiety. I realized that my anxiety came from not trusting in Him and caring too much about what others think. When I came to Him in prayer, I was surrounded by peace. Because of that, others around me saw a difference and also felt that peace. Peace is contagiously attractive!

One of the most important lessons I have learned is this: If I am feeling something other than peace in a situation, I need to recognize that my mindset is in the wrong place and I need to give it to God. It is never God's desire for us to be afraid, angry, or worried. He desires to give us rest for our souls. When He is truly the ruler of our hearts, peace is a natural result because we trust our God.