Three Helpful Ways to Think About Peace and By Faith Overcome Fear

Do you know the word harpu? That would be a tough wordle but since it is Hebrew, I doubt the popular word game will use it. Harpu means to be still as in Psalm 46:10, “Be still (harpu) and know that I am God.” While an accurate translation a better one is: “Shut up, relax your grip, and let go in peace. You can trust me, I am God.”

Letting go is the first step toward peace.

Have you ever thought that to be still you have to shut up, relax your grip, and let go? This is one of the key truths to embrace that I list in Persevering Power: “Control is an illusion. Let go and put your trust in God.”

What are you afraid of?

Fear is the great robber of peace and stillness. If you are honest, you will admit you don’t like not being in control. Fear is fueled by a disturbing feeling of a lack of control. But here is the truth – you have control over very little, but God has control over everything. I know it doesn’t always feel that way. Crime, wars, violence, and oppression fuel fear and feel like the world is spinning out of control. But the world continues to spin on its axis as always – you are the one spinning faster as you allow fear to fuel anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed.

Finding faith is the second step toward peace.

In the book Persevering Power I discuss three aspects of silence – the silence of fear, the silence of fatigue, and the silence of faith.  Fear will cause fatigue. Weariness will sap your capacity to persevere. The truth is you don’t have the strength to carry on, but God has the strength to carry you through the storm. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He speaks. Mt. 11:28.

Trust him. He is the God who encourages you to get away to a quiet place and find rest. Mk. 6:31. The way to peace is by faith in the one who created you. He rested from his creation and so should you. Develop rhythms of rest. Many people practice a sabbath. That word in Hebrew means delight. Take a day to delight yourself free from work and worry. Beyond a daily rest, be sure to take clarity breaks throughout your day. These can be 5-minute walks around an office to catch up with coworkers, walks outside, or just a moment to recharge and redirect your energy.

Serving others is the third step toward peace.

One final caution. Sit still before God but not before men. Dr. King said it this way, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”  Don’t allow fear to drive you into holy bunkers of safety. You were created to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God into the work he created for you (Mic. 6:8, Eph. 2:10). Safety and security are not the goal, love is. Love requires action and love for neighbor requires doing justice.

Develop rhythms of stillness. Allow faith to guide you out of fatigue and fear but then do the work of your father in advancing his kingdom.  You will never find true peace in isolation. Shalom is about human flourishing. It is about a beloved community established by peace, justice, and righteousness.

You come alive as you use your gifts in the loving service of others. As one of Administer Justice’s volunteers recently remarked, “I love how rewarding volunteering is even though I didn’t sign up for personal fulfillment. Helping serve others in my community is such a blessing.”

Let go of your fear and by faith trust God to take care of your needs. Practice harpu and keep persevering!