Do you have peace?
John 14:27 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.
Do you have peace? Yes, right now, in the midst of self isolation and the unknown brought by a virus that is sweeping the world beyond anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. Do you have peace? Or, like so many people are we allowing the anxiety of the moment to overtake us?
I’m reminded of the many times the Disciples struggled to find peace as they walked with Jesus. Times when they cried out in a storm tossed fishing boat, wondering if Jesus even cared that they were all going to drown! Times when they looked around at all the hungry people and wondered “how are we supposed to feed so many?” Times when they feared the Romans, and times when they feared to religious establishment. And times when they thought is was all lost because their hope had died just outside the city on a Roman cross.
But Jesus said, “peace I leave with you.” He said, “MY peace I give you!” He’s not suggesting that we simply tighten our belts and pick ourselves back up by our bootstraps! And He doesn’t give us peace for the peaceful times. It’s times like these when we tap into His peace. He is the Prince of Peace. It’s His peace that we must draw on. It’s the assurance of faith that no matter what happens, Jesus is good and His love endures…no matter what happens!
Those disciples finally got it! They were able to be dragged before the counsel and keep in peace. They were able to be beaten (not a mild flowery little smack, but a flesh tearing flogging of 39 lashes!) and walk away rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus. They were able to be burned, beheaded, crucified and torn apart by gladiators or wild animals in Roman arenas, and sing hymns as it happened. They had found the True source of peace. They knew Jesus was theirs, and they were His.
Jesus does not give us peace as the world gives it. He doesn’t try to convince us that what is going on around us isn’t as bad as it seems, nor does He suggest we face it with denial. He suggests we face it with Him! He doesn’t lie and tell us that we won’t be touched, that we won’t know someone who is deeply impacted by the current situation, nor that we ourselves might not be. But He promises us that in the midst of the storm He is there.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” It is His peace. It is in Him that we can rest, and let our troubled hearts be wrapped up in His love. It was always because God was with the people that He said (365 times) “fear not!” Nothing has changed. He is with us.
Do you believe Him?
The first verse in the above chapter says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
Don’t try to navigate this season on your own. Look to Jesus, and look to the family of believers (Jesus’ body on Earth). If you are struggling with anxiety or have practical needs, please reach out. We are here to help one another walk through this season, being Jesus to each other. And may the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.