PEACE, PERFECT PEACE
Edward H. Bickersteth, 1825–1906
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
The quest for inner calm and peace has been a universal struggle for mankind throughout the ages. Even for those of us who profess to be followers of Christ, it is difficult to realize with consistency that “God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.” It often becomes normal for us to make our own plans without consulting Him for His perfect will.
This comforting hymn, which reminds us that God’s perfect peace is found only in Christ Jesus, was written by an English minister of the Anglican church. Edward Bickersteth, Jr. served as the Bishop of Exeter, England, and became well-known for his many books of sermons, poetry, and hymns.
While vacationing in August, 1875, Bickersteth heard a sermon on Isaiah 26:3 and was deeply moved by the way this verse reads in Hebrew: “Thou wilt keep him in peace, peace whose mind is stayed on Thee …” The repetition of the word conveyed the idea of absolute perfection. That afternoon while visiting a dying aged relative, Bickersteth read this verse from Isaiah to comfort the man. Then at the bedside he quickly composed the lines of this hymn text just as it reads today.
From the Hebrew expression of “peace peace” came the beginning phrase of each stanza, “Peace, perfect peace.” Then questions were posed. For each of these five questions Edward Bickersteth supplied a positive spiritual answer.
As these completed lines were read to the dying relative, they were no doubt a source of great comfort—as they have continued to be for troubled hearts throughout the years.
Peace, perfect peace—in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace—by thronging duties pressed? To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
Peace, perfect peace—with sorrows surging round? On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.
Peace, perfect peace—with loved ones far away? In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.
Peace, perfect peace—our future all unknown? Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.
For Today: Isaiah 26:3; 32:17; John 14:27; Ephesians 2:14; Philippians 4:7
Experience the perfect peace of God in your life by realizing anew that it is only obtained through the presence of Christ in our lives—He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). Carry this musical message as you go—