John 14:27 is my favorite Bible verse
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
The thing about peace is that you can’t actually “find” it.
From magazines, blog posts, to the morning news shows, I hear a lot about “finding time”, “finding peace”…essentially finding things we already have.
I get it… when going through the storms and turmoils of life, it seems as though there is no peace to be found. There is no serenity, no solace, no silence. But that’s not Jesus’ peace at all. It’s not about everything being perfectly still and quiet.
Our Americanized view of peace is to be in a space of rest and relaxation in our physical surroundings. It’s about making sure that everything in our life is right-side up and comfortable.
But my peace can only conjure up comfort and relaxation and make feeble attempts to quiet my worries. When Jesus says He doesn’t give to you as the world gives, He means that the peace that the world gives is counterfeit.
The world’s peace says:
When I have enough money, then I’ll have peace,
When I get the new job, I’ll be at peace.
When I get married, have kids, move to a new state, finish school, and so on and so on… then I will be at peace.
The world is not equipped to give you the kind of peace Jesus is talking about. Yes, it might be able to bring you into a state of ease but it lacks a critical element… faith in God.
When my grandmother died unexpectedly, no doubt I was in state of grief but I was also in a state of shock and turmoil. At the time of her passing, I had just purchased my first house, had been promoted to a management position on my job, and I was also finishing up graduate school. Life was going pretty well for me at that time, and though my grandmother had diabetes and had to take dialysis a few times a week, I thought she was doing “okay”.
But, in the early morning hours of May 7, 2004, my sleep-filled peace was disturbed. I received a phone call from my mother saying that my grandmother was having trouble breathing and being rushed to the hospital by ambulance. This had happened a time or two before but… she would be okay like always… right?
I prayed but I honestly don’t remember my prayer… probably asking God to heal and take care of her. A couple of hours later, the phone rang again…the call that would change my life forever. My grandmother was gone…my prayers were not answered.
For a year after her death, I had two obsessive thoughts that disturbed my peace daily…
1. “Was she afraid in the ambulance?” and
2. “Everything is different. Everything has changed.”
After about six months I got over the first thought…if she was afraid, it didn’t matter because now she was in the everlasting arms of God. But it was the second thought that plagued me for a while longer.
You see, my grandmother, Ovedia, raised me and took care of my from the day I came home from the hospital until the time I left for college when I was 18. She and my grandfather adopted me when I was 10 years old. So I didn’t “go to grandma’s house”…I lived at grandma’s house. She wasn’t just a grandma I would see over the summer. She was my Mom.
I had never known life without her… how was I supposed to go on? Our whole family centered around her: What we did, what we didn’t do, how we acted and how those things reflected upon her. She had a presence… people loved her. But her presence was no more…she was gone… and my peace was disturbed.
I tried to find other outlets for my peace. For a few weeks after her passing, I found my self drinking way more glasses of wine than I should have. Thinking it would help me sleep, but even then I still woke up in the middle of the night in tears.
I stopped that and then threw myself into my new role at work…which still didn’t comfort me. I tried focusing on my grad school studies…which didn’t ease the pain. Nothing ever satisfied… nothing outside of me could fill the void that she had left.
Indeed, everything had changed… things would never be the same. Then one day, I was quiet enough to hear the Holy Spirit say “Yes, everything has changed… it was supposed to.” And instantly, I was at peace. The peace that Jesus was talking about. That was the peace I needed – that peace that surpassed all understanding…I needed Jesus’ peace.
When Jesus says “My Peace I give to you”… it means that any other peace whether it is yours or the worlds’… is powerless.
Only His peace will help soothe your doubts and calm your fears. The only way to get His peace is to have faith. Jesus’ peace is not the absence of turmoil – His peace actually requires some element of chaos. If you aren’t going through anything or experiencing any anxiety… you don’t need peace.
Jesus’ Peace is like standing in the eye of a violent tornado and watching all of the debris circle around you, assured that you will not be touched by any of it.
His Peace allows us to weather any storm… He after all, is the Prince of Peace. The same peace He had, He gave to you. Your only job is to remember that you have it.
When we were saved, we were given access to this kind of peace. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to believe. You might think “How can I, with all of my mess and all of this stuff going on around me, have Jesus’ peace right now?” Christ didn’t devise parameters or guidelines before receiving His peace… He gave it to you when you received the Holy Spirit. So receive it with faith and trust in the One who Saved you!
What keeps you from receiving the peace of that Christ has given you? How have you found peace in difficult times? I’d love to know your thoughts…Please leave them in the comments section!
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