Edward H. Bickersteth, 1825-1906

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; 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. Edward Bickersteth, Jr. served in Exeter, England and became well-known for his many books of sermons, poetry, and hymns.

While vacationing in August of 1875, Bickersteth heard a sermon on Isaiah 26:3 and was deeply moved by the way this verse reads: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee...." The phraseology 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 this verse came the beginning phrase of each stanza, "Peace, perfect peace." Then the questions were posed. For each of these 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 Jesusí bosom naught but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesusí keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.

It is enough: earthís struggles soon shall cease,
And Christ calls us to Heavenís perfect peace.

*For Today*: Isaiah 26:3, 32:17; John 14:27; Ephesians 2:14; Philippians 4:7

Experience this perfect peace of God in your life today, realizing anew that it is only obtained through the presence of the Saviour in our lives--He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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