Oct 30, 2015

Perfect Peace

I write words on my chalkboard, on scraps of paper taped to the fridge, in a journal left open so I can take a glance throughout the day - words, because I need reminders.

On a chalkboard hung above our dining table, I like to write out a hymn which might stay for a month or more unless little fingers smudge out the words. Sometimes I sing it to Joshua and Miriam while they are eating their morning oatmeal. They find it entertaining; for me, it's a chance to begin the day by putting truth into my mind, to instruct my soul to hope in God.  (And less I'm giving an incomplete picture of our life, there are other mornings when I just throw toast on the table and escape to facebook for a few minutes.)

I came across the hymn "Peace, Perfect Peace" a couple years ago in a book I was reading while giving Joshua a bath one night, and it stuck with me.

The author, Edward H. Bickersteth, wrote the lyrics while visiting a dying relative, and afterwards shared it with his children. His son later recounted:

"I well recollect his coming in to tea, a meal we always had with him on Sunday afternoon, and saying, 'Children, I have written you a hymn,' and reading us 'Peace, Perfect Peace'. I may add that it was his custom to expect each one of us on Sunday at tea to repeat a hymn, and he did the same, unless, as frequently happened, he wrote us a special hymn himself...It is not always noticed that the first line of each verse of 'Peace, Perfect Peace' is the form of a question, referring to some one or other of the disturbing experiences of life, and the second line of each verse endeavors to give the answer." *

The lyrics are simple but full of rich truth and encouragement (I've especially been finding the second verse a precious reminder to me in these busy days of caring for our little ones - to do the will of Jesus, this is rest):

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.

It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus calls us to Heav’n’s perfect peace.

I wish I could tell Mr. Bickersteth that a hundred and forty years or so after he wrote this hymn and shared it with his children around the table, another parent is sharing it with her own children during breakfast time.
 *quoted in "Then Sings My Soul, Book 2" by Robert J. Morgan


  1. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. I love this, and need to do this more! I used to have Scripture hanging all over the place. I need to get my craft supplies organized so I can make some again, but regular old paper and pen works, too. :)

  3. Love these words as well! Thanks for reminding me! I had posted them long ago, too :) http://simplicityandpurity.blogspot.de/2008/11/peace-perfect-peace.html

  4. Love this hymn! (Never heard it before!) I love the words to the old hymns!!! I should get copies of some of these books you have! 😄