“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
When you think of peace, of what do you think? Peace for many may be being at home alone with no kids, eating whatever you want with no interruptions, and no sibling rivalry. Peace could be a cup of coffee. A comfy blanket. A good book. When we think of peace we often think of calm. Relaxation. Quiet.
Perhaps to you peace is a place. A moment. Or even a person.
For many it’s often an escape they crave. Peace is how they tune out. Shut out. Numb all the thoughts and feelings about what is going on in the outside world. For a moment, anyway. Until even these practices-people, places, habits- can become destructive and lead us to anything but peace.
They become destructive because we seek what Jesus indicates we should be avoiding-the world’s version of what provides us peace, and it falls short every single time.
It could be these things, yes. But I think it is also so much more. Because there are spaces we can be in at any given moment that are not peaceful based on an average definition of peace. Our thoughts may be loud, and the spaces may not simply be quiet and calm around us. The circumstances we face may actually be full of chaos and turmoil, but we can still have peace and be facing really tough things.
Let’s look at the world. Jesus says he will provide a peace the world cannot give, yet that is often what we cling to-the peace we seek from the world. The kind we crave from the world’s approval. The applause we receive from accomplishments, fame, and likes. However, do something someone doesn’t like; and those things go away quickly. Because this world is also full of what we have now come to know as “cancel culture,” and if you don’t fit into what the world deems appropriate, well…you get canceled.
The kind of peace Jesus gives doesn’t cancel you. No, instead it’s the peace that is content in knowing that we all speak a certain way. Are interested in different things. Have different talents, passions and strengths. When we start to have peace with ourself and the way we have been molded and made by God, we walk different. We walk with our heads held high knowing that every experience, every thing that others may consider a personality flaw, every weird accent. It has a purpose. It is used by Him.
You no longer seek the applause of other people, or make decisions based on whether it makes someone happy. Peace allows you to boldly say and believe: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” You know that He will use all your traits for good! Even if now it doesn’t “look” so good.
Peace is simply this: even if.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Even if this world is filled with trouble. Sickness. Despair. Worries and circumstances we don’t understand.
I don’t know the reason for a call from a bus that started like this: “I am heading to the ER.” I may never know the reason for an ER visit that resulted in a device just to keep my husband from going into cardiac arrest. Simply put-to keep him alive. I may never know the reason.
But I do know this…I was not without fear in those days. There were moments that I was definitely fearful of what could happen. The doctors were pretty specific and it was a little scary. I can’t say I was not fearful as I sat beside my husband on a Sunday morning in church as he shook in fear for His plan.
But God didn’t allow us to live there for long. We wrestled over the what if’s. Quietly talked to Him, went to sleep. In peace. Because at the end of the day, God knows the reasons for all He allows.
And He doesn’t leave us. He always gives us a message of peace, we just often have to shut off the noise to hear it.
Those distractions that rob us of peace. And it disconnects us from God. Whether it’s the endless scrolling we are doing to find that “calm,” or that approval we are seeking that we already know the world can’t provide. It’s robbing us of peace.
It’s accepting the past and all its mistakes. Moving forward. Knowing they shaped you into the person you are today. It’s accepting yourself. Your flaws. Your challenges. All the things He is still working out, and walking with your head held high in the grace He has given. Even if others don’t like you.
It’s knowing that life can be scary, and it is often filled with conflict. Once you get over one wave, another one crashes that you have to get over, but your Captain steers you back to shore.
It is a reminder that He is here. Walking all the broken roads with us. Never leaving our side. And that even if the mountains fall…even still it is well.
All is well with peace.