(Sunday’s church bulletin article)
Yesterday, yet another terrorist attack rocked the world. Last week, five uniformed officers sworn to enforce the law and protect citizens, were gunned down by a disturbed individual. Through social media and more traditional media, we have a pipeline to distribute fear and uncertainty as we take it all in. The people we see and talk to daily give growing indication that they don’t know what to think, feel, or do. What a golden opportunity for you and me to give them what they desperately need!
Jesus was telling His disciples that He would soon be leaving them. That was disturbing news for them. So, Jesus gives assurances to them. He tells them the Father was going to send the Holy Spirit to help them. Then, He says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). Let us consider what we possess and are in a position to share.
- This peace is delivered—“I leave with you”; “I give to you”
- This peace is divine—“My peace”
- This peace is distinct—“Not as the world gives”
- This peace is durable—Prevents us from being “troubled” and “fearful”
These qualities are vital in a world which is ever-changing and increasingly unstable. The world has no anchor or foundation that can adequately address one’s disturbance and distress. Yet, we have Christ. What He offers the world cannot take away! Let the vilest do their worst and we can still have peace.
How could Stephen maintain such calm as his killers were literally taking his life? Peace, perfect peace! How could the early Christians relentlessly share Jesus even as they were being scattered from their homes? Peace, perfect peace! How could the New Testament church thrive amidst persecution? Peace, perfect peace!
So, what about us today? It appears that terror and violence are on the rise. Dark clouds seem to be gathering to threaten comfort, calm, and physical and economic security. We would never welcome such a circumstance, but we can certainly weather it! How? Peace, perfect peace!
Consider the lyrics of a few verses of Edward Bickersteth’s beautiful hymn: “Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within. Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown? Jesus we know, and He is on the throne. It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease, And Jesus calls us to Heav’n’s perfect peace.” Do you have this peace?