“If I just didn’t have all these trials and tribulations in my life I could have peace.”
I have either thought or said something very much like this have you? I mean, how do you have peace of mind when things aren’t going well? Around some breakfast table a conversation goes like this.
Dad says,“They have told me at work we might have a lay off, or we will all have to take a reduced salary if we keep our jobs.” And mom says, “The dentist bill came for Jill’s braces it was $800.00! And the transmission in my car is doing funny stuff, the mortgage company called again…and…what on earth are we gonna do?”
Is it even remotely possible to have troubles like this and peace at the same time. Many people this week will leave a doctor’s office after having heard the words, “You have 3 to 6 months with treatment..”. What about that person? The answer is an emphatic YES! God’s brand of peace doesn’t depend one tiny bit on circumstances. People, places, and things are in a different category altogether.
You and I, as faith followers of Jesus, can have his peace right in the middle of the darkest night of our difficulty and the face of every disappointment people, places, and things send our way.
In the Bible in John 16 Jesus had been telling his followers that they should expect hatred from the world they will minister in. He then spoke to them about the Comforter who would come to walk along side them to comfort and guide. And he spoke of the time when their sorrow would be turned to joy at His return. Then at the end of this teaching He said these simple words.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
A simple, but powerful promise for those who are in Christ. Take a look at what He promised.
- “In” the world you will have tribulation. About this there is no debate. Christians and non-Christians alike share in all sorts of difficulties as long as we are on this planet alive. No person, no matter how good, how kind, how generous, is immune to problems. The sooner we accept this fact of life the better we will function.
- “In” Jesus you may have peace. There is no lasting peace outside of Jesus. Outside of Him circumstances rule the day and you are at the mercy of the fickle hand of fate. When people, places and things are good, you are good. And when they are not, you are not. However, when you are “in Jesus” circumstances and the adverse effects of people, places, and things can’t touch you in a peace stealing way. Why?
- Jesus has overcome the world! Satan is described in the Bible as the “god” of this world. Our war as Christians is against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. But, Jesus has overcome all of that! Remember when Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples? He began by saying “I have all power in heaven and in earth, therefore go…” There is no safer place to be than in the earth and “in” Jesus. Being in Him is the place of calm and peace.
Jesus said this two chapters earlier in John 14. As in the 16th chapter, after teaching about the coming of the Holy Spirit and describing the Spirit’s ministry he said these words.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Real, divine peace is a grace gift from Jesus to those who are His faith followers. It is not dependent on anything but His sure promise.
Next time, when things seem to be falling apart, when a loved one is dying, when business has failed, when people at church are fighting, find a solitary place and read these wonderful promises and by simple faith make them yours. Just take God at His word. To simple? Yes simple, but not to simple.
God gives you and I the right to say to a world that seems to be imploding, “Do what you will, I have chosen peace!” Jesus has overcome the world!