“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Our world is characterised by a lack of peace. Where there is no active warfare between nations there is a general distrust, if not an active opposition. Within nations there is turmoil of one sort or another, be it political, economic, social, moral, gender or age related. Within many people there is fear, anxiety, stress, unhappiness, self-rejection and emotional turmoil.
In some ways the world in which Jesus moved was not that dissimilar. However, into the current situation that they faced, and into the situations He knew would arise in the future, He said purposefully,
“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)
‘In this world you will have trouble.’ ‘In Me you may have peace.’ Note the two small words – ‘will’ and ‘may.’ The former is a reality about which they, and we, could do little or nothing. The latter is the reality of a gift that He offers to us. The former was external and of man, the latter internal and of the Spirit. Some people will be in turmoil even where there is a human peace all around them. Others will know God’s peace both in calm times and in times of trouble. The difference is simple. God is not of the world – but He is in those who believe and trust in Him. And, as with any gift, this one needs to be acknowledged, accepted and practised.
No matter who you are or where you are – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, financially or relationally – no matter how you feel about yourself, what’s happened to you in the past or what will happen to you in the future, no matter what you may have done or not done, Jesus Christ offers you this peace. It is the peace of God Almighty, a Father of true and wonderful love, the peace of a Saviour who died and rose for you to deal with your sin, and the peace of the Holy Spirit forever within the people of God. It is an inner peace, independent of circumstances, that comes from our union with God. It is to be acknowledged as we refuse to let inner turmoil and fear control us and pray for God’s strength and peace instead. He effectively says to us,
My child, you are wonderfully special to Me, I love you, I know you, I understand you, I forgive you, I accept you – as you are and where you are – I am with you, I will never leave you, I will bless you, and I will see you through all the troubles, loneliness and pain of this life. Trust Me, and let My love, presence and promise be your peace. Hold on to Me; I will hold on to you.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me”
Practice holding on to the presence of God – in thought and prayer – all the time, especially when ‘wobbles’ threaten. Talk to Him through the day. Practice believing Him. Trust His word.
Lord Jesus it’s so very hard sometimes – when everything within me screams, ‘what about me!?” Please help me to accept your word and promise, and to trust You and Your love for the journey ahead. Amen.