"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." John 14:27 (NIV)
These words were spoken by Jesus to his disciples as he told them he would not be with them much longer here on earth. Of course the disciples did not really understand the meaning of his words. They were sure he was going to be with them for a long time and they believed that he was going to establish a kingdom here on earth where he would rule and they would be a part of this earthly kingdom. Of course, reading the story of Jesus we know that this was not the plan of God.
Peace? What does this word mean for each of us? How do we find peace when our world is falling apart around us?
I remember, as a child, the day that my father left us. My world, the world of my family, changed forever. Thinking back to the day he called my mom saying that he was not coming back. Peace was nowhere to be found that day. It's funny the things you remember when something horrible is happening. I was around 7 years old the day that phone call came. I was sitting at the breakfast bar eating my lunch and I remember my mom being so upset and crying- peace was nowhere to be found. As I ate my lunch I was watching a spider climb up the wall. To this day whenever I see a spider peace for me goes flying out the window. That night I remember waking up and walking out into the living room. The television was on and my dad was sitting in a chair. The last words I remember him saying to me was, "Go back to bed. Everything is going to be all right.". Of course it wasn't and thus being told everything was going to be ok and then it wasn't ok destroyed any kind of peace I had as a child. It also caused me to mistrust anyone that would tell me things were going to be ok. This was the first of many times in my life where peace could not be found. Only heartbreak and fear.
Today, looking back I can see where God and Jesus were with me all the time. The peace I so desperately needed and desired in my life was always there, I just didn't know it or was aware of this kind of peace.
Many times in our lives we look for happiness and peace through people and things of this world. This is a false sense of peace because the things of this world and the people in our lives will always, at one point or another, disappoint us, fail us, and cause us anxiety, fear, hurt and heartbreak. It happens and we have a choice as to how we deal with these disappointments and heartbreak.
As an adult I have come to realize and understand that the only true peace we can have in our lives is through Jesus Christ. The peace and healing that He gives is such that the world can never give. We may seek to find peace through making more money, having a nice house, getting married, etc. These things can be good and bring happiness for a time but eventually fear and doubt, hurt and heartbreak come knocking on our doors. Peace from the things and people of this world are fleeting and do not give us the kind of peace that Jesus can give.
Having peace through Jesus Christ does not guarantee that we will live our lives without pain, hurt or heartbreak. Having peace through Jesus Christ is a peace that comes with knowing that we are never alone! Jesus who gave His life for us is always with us through the fearful times, the hurtful and heartbreaking times. Peace in Jesus Christ is a peace that fills our heart and soul. Peace in Jesus Christ is a peace that goes beyond the world's definition of peace. Peace in Jesus Christ gives us the courage and desire to continue living and hoping in Him no matter what fires we may find ourselves walking through on any given day.
Peace in and through Jesus Christ is knowing that when the days get too difficult for us to handle, we can come to him and rest in his arms, at his feet, and he will carry us through the refining time - perfecting us; through the renewal time - healing and strengthening; through to our times of restoration - living again with the knowledge that there is hope, joy, strength and peace through the one who suffered so horribly, Jesus Christ.
When you can't seem to find peace anywhere else, turn to Him and remember His words, "Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you." Repeat these words over and over and see what He can bring to your life - Peace beyond understanding!
Love to you all in the precious name of Jesus our Lord, Savior of the World, Prince of Peace!