The Peace I Give
24 March 2015
Reading: John 14; Psalm 70
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)
Life is full of uncertainties. One benefit of civilization and prosperity is that we can control quite a wide range of those uncertainties—control them to the extent that we don’t think about them or fear them much. Civilization gives us an orderly way of life, with health care, police protection, and reasonably reliable infrastructure. Prosperity allows us to purchase adequate shelter, easily accessible, quality food, and a wide range of conveniences, comforts, and pleasures.
But beneath the veneer of civilization remain the uncertainties of life: The violent criminal behavior of an individual whose gunshots can take a life. Or the conflict with a neighbor over late night noise or the dog that messes on your lawn. Beneath the security of a generally mild and predictable climate remain the uncertainties of weather: The tornado, flood, drought, or, here in my part of the world, the forest wildfire. Beneath the security of available, if unevenly distributed, healthcare lies the possible diagnosis of incurable cancer or chronic illness. Beneath the security of a prosperous economy lies the sudden economic downturn, the retirement-wrecking plunge of the stock market, the unexpected job loss, the failure of a business, or foreclosure on an impossible-to-pay mortgage. Beneath the security of home and family lies the loss of a loved one, the shock of infidelity and betrayal, or the seemingly irreconcilable failure of friendship.
In a world filled with uncertainties, Jesus offers the gift of peace – peace of mind and heart. The peace the world gives depends on keeping pain, conflict, and loss at bay. The peace Jesus gives can be found through simple faith even in the midst of pain, conflict, and loss.
Father, Even though I live daily with an expectation of, and an appreciation for, the peace that the world gives, I thank you for the gift of peace that only Jesus gives. I thank you for peace of mind and heart. Please forgive me for so often treating your peace like an insurance policy – glad it’s there, but hoping I won’t have to use it. Help me to learn to live daily in the peace of mind and heart that you so graciously give. Amen.