At Church this past Sunday, our pastor preached a message that spoke deeply to me… it is still speaking deeply… sometimes I wish it was easier to listen, absorb, and put into practice.
After Jesus’ death, the women had returned to the tomb to care for his body. Yet, he was not there, he had risen. Times were dangerous for the believers, they gathered together and in that place Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)
Peace… to the disciples who had fled in fear when Jesus was arrested…
Peace… to those who had witnessed his death on the cross…
Peace… to the ones who had discovered an empty tomb…
Peace… to the hidden… those still in fear for their lives…
Here is what my pastor said, “Peace is not the absence of problems. Peace is the presence of Jesus in the midst of your problems. The peace of Jesus gives us contentment.”
“Peace is God’s presence in our lives. Our focus needs to be Jesus (not peace itself or anything else). The peace of God guards our hearts.”
I know I need this lesson (still today) to be poured into my soul: Peace is not the absence of problems. Peace is the presence of Jesus in the midst of your problems.
It isn’t our situations that will bring us true peace. If we wait for them to do so, we wait for the wrong thing. If we look to discover peace by having a life free from problems we may wait for a very long time. But if we focus on the presence of God in our lives we can find peace wherever we are at. It doesn’t mean the circumstances will be easy, but the peace of God will guard our hearts, no matter the outside situation.
Philippians 4: 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes I spend too much time trying to make everything around me peaceful when what I really need is God to guard my inner most self, my heart and mind, with His peace. With my heart guarded and my mind solidly planted in the peace of God’s presence in my life… then… then I can face the situations and circumstances that surround.
And you? Where are you in need of peace today?