Peace is a central promise of the Christian faith. One of the names of Jesus is the Prince of Peace after all. When Jesus healed the brave unnamed woman who left her home after 12 years seeking a healing from a shaming blood disease, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48. First, women, let’s awe that she was called daughter by Jesus. What a tender name, a name many of us crave to hear. Peace was the sending off gift Jesus gave her. Can you imagine the peace of living every day from that day forward knowing that you have been healed…after 12 long years…and called daughter?!!
After the resurrection, the disciples huddled together in fear not knowing what to do next. Jesus appears and says, While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24:36. No wonder he is called the Prince of Peace. He is continually blessing with it, even in the most frightful and vulnerable situations.
Of course, Jesus also said, Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! Luke 12:51. This sounds far from the Prince of Peace that we may idealize more to be like “hippie peace.”
Here the vulnerability of peace is exposed. Peace is just not a simple blessing we get to receive and then go on living our lives…controlling the outcome of our lives. We want to believe that we can live lives of peace, especially if we decide to live a life of faith. We do get to live lives of peace but it is far from the idealized version of hippie peace.
Because Jesus also taught, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. We get the peace. We also get the trials and sorrows.
We are not exempt from pain. Even the bravest Christian there is must deal with the pain of trials and sorrows.
But because we want to control the outcome so much…
Because we don’t want to feel how painful the trials and sorrow really are…
Because we desire a much safer life…we strive and hustle believing we are on our way to peace.
Striving and hustling are not peaceful. Nothing about those words emote peace. Yet we would rather hustle to numb the pain so we can find that elusive peace again. But is it peace you are looking for? Or control over your life?
It is easier to have that extra glass of wine. It is easier to play that video game. It is easier to scroll mindlessly through Facebook. It is easier to binge watch Netflix. All of this is easier than to rest in the peace that God knows the big picture like John 16:33 tells us.
Nice sentence but who can do that? It is so hard to not fret when pain is involved. When someone you love is involved. And it sounds pretty pithy to just trust that God knows the big picture and gain peace just from that. It sounds naïve too.
This is what I’ve learned from the pains of my life. It is in those darkest moments when you cannot even find your Plan B anymore and the world has seemingly stopped. (Like when your son is a fugitive from the police for 22 days and you think he is dead. I’m talking about real pain here. What is your real pain?)
In this deep deep quagmire, an unexplained peace becomes your friend. It feels like a supernatural peace. Perhaps because it is. This peace is real. And you remember it the next time, even when you aren’t in those lowest of lows because this is a peace you don’t forget. This is a peace you learn to stop and find throughout your day. This peace changes you to the core and the fruit of that is you find yourself fretting less and trusting more. You are amazed at yourself when you have to go through the next lowest of lows and you really are fretting less.
This is peace beyond understanding. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7. It is yours to have. It is a fruit of the Spirit.
The risk is to feel the pain that also feels like it is beyond understanding and to stop trying to control the outcome. This is hard stuff.
Jesus left us with these words, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27. Be brave. Peace is yours to have. Even as you can’t explain it. You know it.