Kia ora everyone. Rob here.
As I look around at my church family I see people experiencing the full spectrum of human experience. Some have just faced a tragic loss. Others are anticipating the birth of a child. Still others face the concern of their parents health. Some parents are seeing children grow up and leave home. Some are about to start university for the first time. Others are in a new school or new jobs. There are health issues for some. Human life never stands still. We are always moving from one experience to another. The only constant it seems, is change itself. It’s no wonder that one of the things that people crave most is internal peace.
The longing for peace in the midst of turbulence is one we can all relate to, but, as you know, it’s not something we can just manufacture by ourselves. At one stage in Philippians 4:7 Paul calls it,
…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…
In this world we live in, with its constant change, its ever-present threats to our well being and its pervasive demands, having peace isn’t logical. It transcends all understanding. This means that it has to come to us from outside of us. It is literally the peace of God that we need to have have. In John 14:27 Jesus says,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
Jesus’ peace wasn’t just calmness. After all, he could get pretty fiery at times! It was a peace that was born of faith and trust that God’s purposes would come to pass. It was an acceptance of the reality of suffering as a necessary part of those purposes. It was the knowledge that he was playing his part in those purposes through his faithful obedience. God’s peace isn’t just passivity either. Jesus chose to go to the cross. He knew that all authority belonged to him and he let Pilate know that too. He was doing whatever it took to break the cycle of human pride and arrogance. He had peace because he knew what he had to do. And yet Jesus still suffered at the level of the soul in the garden of Gethsemane. God’s peace isn’t an other-worldly serenity that leaves us unaffected by reality. Instead it was God’s peace that enabled Jesus to wrestle with his anguish, eventually coming to the point where he could pray.
Not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42)
Jesus is the prince of peace and we serve the God of peace. We are called to be peacemakers. Eternity will be filled with this shalom of God. But this peace is rugged and tough. It enables us to wrestle with God and life. It enables us to resist the enemy and command him to flee. It gives us courage to stand up for justice and truth. It helps us to love beyond measure and love our enemies. We need this peace of God if we are to navigate life well. To receive it we need to ask for it. If we’re asking for it we need to be willing to put our whole trust in Jesus who gives it. He doesn’t give it to make us feel good. He gives it so that we may follow him, even when life is more cross than empty tomb. He gives it so that we may have an anchor for our souls even as we place our hope in him.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Grace and peace everyone.