Jehovah Shalom – God is Peace
During the very first Hope Church retreat I attended in 2007, my then care leader asked me what my objective was, my purpose for going to the retreat. I was brand new, I didn't know what he was asking exactly. To be totally honest, my first reason for coming was because it was my first trip to Batam, Indonesia. It was a short vacation. I just wanted to go to the beach.
Just to get him to stop talking, I said the first thing that came to me. I said I was praying for peace of mind. And then I walked away.
But God moves in mysterious ways indeed. What I thought to be just a throwaway statement became my personal theme for that retreat. It turns out, I really, truly did need peace of mind (and heart, and soul) at that time. He knew the exact thing that I needed even before I knew it for myself.
I felt He led me through the rest of that retreat, and prepared everything just for me, so that I would receive and understand the personal relationship that He wanted to have with me.
It was the very first time I encountered and was touched by this favorite verse:
“Be still, and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10a NIV
It tied in to His message for me right then. Through these words I realised all the things I had to let go of: my anger, my pride, my resentments, my personal slights both real and imagined. I had to let go of all the "my"s in my life, and replace it with what is "His".
His love. His grace. His faith. His Word.
In the same retreat, they played the song Still, by Hillsong United. After hearing the words, I was shattered. It was the last straw. I wept. I shed tears I didn't know were inside me, for reasons that I didn't even understand completely.
All I knew was my need for the peace that only He could bring. Mind, body, heart, and soul — I wanted all parts of me to be filled with His peace.
(I found out later that it wasn't even part of the lineup. A guitar string broke, and the band had to switch to a song that had more keyboard parts in it. So they played a song that became my anthem for a very long time in 2007.)
Fast forward to today, and I have to teach on Jehovah Shalom. God is Peace.
And in making the lesson, I was refreshed with that memory of my new believer self, all of ten years ago.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7 NIV
Peace that transcends all understanding — this is true. It's been a decade, and I'm certainly not a new believer anymore, but until now I still hold to the indefinable, awesome quality of God, the wonderful reality of His peace.
If you want to experience a peaceful retreat without ever needing to go on a beach vacation, click here.