“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
All of us are petitioning God for different things. It may be healing for ourselves or someone we love, a job, money to pay a bill, a new house, a car, a breakthrough, etc. We’re all in need of something from God, but there is one thing all of these things have in common. Many of us believe if (or when) these things happen, we will have peace. Some of us are waiting for peace to arrive wrapped in these packages. The world has conditioned our minds to think that peace must look a certain way. Peace looks like bills paid. Peace looks like good health. Peace looks like money in the bank. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Those things are good. But if we don’t have peace in the absence of those things, do we really have the peace of God? Could it be because we think peace ought to look a certain way? Our way?
Today, some of us would say that our peace is disturbed by COVID-19, the upcoming election and the evils of systemic racism. All of these things are deeply, deeply disturbing. The mental, emotional and financial weight of the quarantine, politics and racism has us weary. In our weariness and search for answers, we are asking God a lot of questions. Why, God? What’s going on? When will all of this end? We feel the tremendous weight of life in a very uncertain, dangerous world. Our hearts are having trouble settling down. However, Jesus tells us we should relax and pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Jesus, who saw our end from our beginning, knew what we would face in this life. In John 16:33 Jesus says “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.” God wants us to feel safe by understanding that we are safe with Him and we can find peace in Him, regardless of what is coming against us. When we receive God’s peace, His Presence becomes bigger than our problems and our pain. And no human being on this planet can take God’s peace away! God’s peace is divine. It is unshakable and unmoveable. This is the peace Jesus was referring to in John 14:27 where He says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” So, if our peace is shaken, it’s not John 14:27 kind of peace. It’s something the world has defined as peace that has disturbed our lives.
Our troubles may be related to the pandemic, racism or politics or something more personal. In any of these cases we are in need of God to make a way in the wilderness. These things are difficult, and we are right to seek God’s face in prayer so that they are resolved. However, we must be mindful and ask ourselves if we are waiting on the answers to come before we can breathe. Are our hearts and minds in a holding pattern of fear and doubt while we’re waiting on God to make a way? If so, God understands. He encourages us to spend more time in His Presence until our hearts and minds grasp that the gift of peace isn’t found in the answers to our problems. The gift of peace is in the Giver. Peace is in God. Peace is God. May our eyes and heart stay fixed on Him so that we remain in perfect peace, come what may. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! ~Isaiah 26:3
Prayer: Father, I magnify your holy name. I am so grateful for your Presence in my life. I confess that, sometimes, I believe the answers to my problems will give me peace. Help me to understand that you are Jehovah Shalom, which means you are peace. You are peace. You are MY peace. Help me to seek your face. When I seek you, I will find everything I need. Every problem in my life is as dust under your feet. You are the God for whom NOTHING is impossible. Renew my mind daily with these truths. By the power of your Holy Spirit, may my heart and my mind remain focused on you. I love you. I ask these things in the name of your dear Son, Jesus. Amen.