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John 16:33 – 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.”
What an ironic time for Jesus to talk about peace. In a short time, Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders will burst into the garden and disturb the peace. They will arrest Jesus and scatter His followers and light the fuse to a weekend that will change history forever. There are many words to describe what is about to happen, but peaceful doesn’t come to mind.
Maybe that’s the point. Notice, Jesus says, “In the world you will have tribulation.” You’re going to have trouble. Things are not always going to go like you hoped or planned. You’re going to attend funerals for people you love; get bad reports at the doctor; fight with people you care about; be disappointed; be heartbroken; be injured. Life with Jesus doesn’t somehow erase the brokenness of this fallen world; at least not yet.
But in the midst of all of that, Jesus says, “Take heart. I have overcome the world.” That means that no matter what happens, because of Jesus, there is hope, which means there can be peace.
When we lose our grip on peace, it’s often because we are allowing “lesser things” to become great in our minds, and as a consequence, we lose sight of the things that really matter. God is at work, often behind the scenes. Look for Him! When you can identify where God is working on things, and fix your eyes on those places, everything else in the world “clicks into place” behind them. You find that the things that robbed you of your peace in the past no longer have that power, and the things that give you peace are constant. They don’t change with your circumstances. That means you can have peace in your life no matter what.
The Disciples will one day look back and see that the cross, as terrible as it was, was a place where God was at work. Later, they would apply that lesson in the face of persecution. Even as threats rained down on them, they held on to peace, because they knew that God was at work.
For you and me, we can have peace at the cemetery, or at the hospital, or at the nursing home, or in our own homes, because we know that God is at work… even when we can’t see Him… and that there is something bigger than our momentary struggles.
Lord, grant me eyes to see you in every situation today, and help me to keep my peace grounded in You.