John 14: 27 b – Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

14:27a – (because)….Peace I leave with you: My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.

I’ve switched the order of verse 27, you’ll notice.

My husband is anxious about his job.  In fact, he hates his job.  It has been a source of intermittent disappointment and frustration for years.  His mood goes up and down depending on what happens at work.  His body manifests physical reactions when he especially feels stuck in his job.  In sum, he views his whole life through the lens of his feelings about his work.

As I have journeyed with him for almost 30 years, I have learned a great deal.  Today, as I was meditating on what seems like unanswered prayer, it occurred to me that every believer has something in his or her life that can be a huge distraction to peace with God.  We could have a child born with autism.  One of us could have cancer that doesn’t respond to treatment.  We could have an aging parent with Alzheimer’s.  Our children could be without faith.  So how does one obey Christ when he commands us NOT to fear, NOT to be anxious?  How does His imparting peace to us make a difference?

My conclusion, today, is that we have to compartmentalize the pain, to contextualize it in such a way to gain Christ’s perspective.  He has told us that each will have trouble in this life, but that He has given us His peace.  How are we to learn to RELY on His peace, unless we have very distracting trouble?  His peace cannot be made real to us, unless we HAVE to depend on it and see for ourselves that it is enough.  This is called living by faith.  The peace we all seek out, however, is the kind the world gives, circumstantial peace:  in my husband’s case – a solution to his career disappointment (a satisfying job).  In the other scenarios – a ‘normal’ child, a cancer-free spouse, an alert aging parent, born-again children.

How do we live so that His peace is real to us?  I think that we have to take time each day to soak in truth: to mediate on the grace we have been given, to look forward to the hope that is stored up for us in heaven, to remind ourselves of the promises/the guarantees that God has given us in faith.   Recalling these truths has to be the first thing we do each day, along with asking through prayer that the Holy Spirit remind us of the reality of Jesus’ promised peace.  Then as we are assaulted throughout the day by fear and doubt and discouragement, we can respond with faith as Jesus did when confronted by Satan.  “No, it is written…”

So, dear brothers & sisters let us seek to nurture Jesus’ peace in our hearts.  Let us make it ours, continually.  Just as soldiers are not passive, neither can we be passive in our pursuit of peace.  Nothing is static.  We are either moving toward God’s peace in our thoughts, or we are moving toward the discouragement that Satan sends our way.  His discouragement, based on lies, SEEMS to be the truth, because we live in his world.  However we don’t belong to the devil anymore.  As exiles in his world, we are living members in the Kingdom of Light (Truth), though for now living in the world controlled by Satan.