“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (GNT). Jesus gave these words to His disciples in His farewell message, and how comforting they are. He did not give them the peace that the world gives, for which we must be very glad.
Peace is always tied to something. The peace that the world gives, is only for a moment and can disappear suddenly because it totally depends on other people and earthly things.
That kind of peace is there when everything is going well, when people speak well about you and you receive some praise and honour, when you are healthy and things are going well in most areas. Most people have experienced that this peace can be lost in a moment; but still, most people are seeking it. One moment everything might seem so pleasant and good, and in the next moment it is the opposite.
The peace that Jesus gives
The Master knew all this, and that is why He came with a far better offer to us; He came with God’s peace, a peace in all circumstances! This is a totally different kind of peace, a steady and stable peace not tied to people or to this world. It is firmly tied to the heavenly.
By nature, we are all “sons of tumult”, troublemakers. (Numbers 24:17.) We do not know the way of peace. (Romans 3:17.) So, how shall we get this peace? It is not something that we receive automatically. This peace becomes more and more part of our life only when we obey God’s commandments, His word. “Anyone who loves me, will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23 (NIV). There cannot be anything other than peace when you have the Father and the Son in your heart and mind. (Revelation 3:20.)
“Oh, that you had listened to My commandments! Then your peace would have been as a river and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:18 (MEV).
“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (ESV).
This peace is filled with faith and rest and certainty and power. Paul had it. He suffered much, he was persecuted, hated, humiliated, insulted, mistreated, etc. He came in many difficult situations, but he was so bold that he wrote to the Romans in chapter 8:38-39(NIV): “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
He knew what all his troubles led to. We are saved precisely through sufferings, not without them. In difficult situations we learn to know ourselves and God, our human weakness and God’s power! One could think that if only I didn’t have so many difficulties I would have peace of mind, but it doesn’t work that way. The final goal is to have rest and peace in all circumstances, in all kinds of difficult situations. This is how the Master and the apostles lived. Everyone who wants to live a God-fearing life will have the same experience.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV). This is fantastic! Having overcome the world and everything that is in it! What a victory! This way is also for us! (1 John 5:4.)
Coming to the peace of God
There is much that brings us unrest in our human nature, such as pride, “knowing better”, impatience, anger, having no mercy, etc. We feel these things coming up in us when we come into difficult situations. We become restless, and as a result we do not have God’s peace in our circumstances. But when we, through God’s grace and power, fight the good fight of faith until we get the victory over these things, there will be peace around us and in us. Think how good it is when this happens in our life, in the situations in which we live.
“Don’t let evil overcome you. Overcome evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21 (NIRV). If we do that, the result will be peace, but if we do the opposite, as most likely all of us have experienced, the result is unrest – not only around us, but also within us. But those who overcome evil with good, will little by little learn to know the way of peace better. How great that is! May it be God’s peace that we long for!