After a hurried rentrée (return to school after a week off) and praying through the stressful situations that many of our friends find themselves in (and you too?!), I’m reminded that we do not live in a peaceful world. There is always something for me to be worried about. There is always something trying to steal my joy and peace.
The verse that came to my mind this morning was John 14.27
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.
I am reminded of the ways that people around me (and me included) look for peace:
- In political powers: my own nation of Canada is groaning and rejoicing with the political shift that has just taken place. In 4 years it will all shift again. Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Ukrainians, Romas are still waiting for political peace.
- In economic prosperity: many of the deepest economic recessions have happened after stratospheric financial booms. A bumper crop can be wiped out with a hail storm.
- In educational superiority: just when you think you’re getting somewhere, along comes someone who makes you seem very ordinary.
- In family stability: we are all hoping that home will be a place of peace and security and look to copy those around us who seem to have it. Family is where tension and strife is most normal (and faith can make it even worse).
- In physical health: one accident, one illness, one unusual test result and it’s all shattered.
If I spend my energy trying to get peace from these very fragile sources I will be frustrated. There is, however, another way to gain peace that is unshakeable and sustainable, in the words of Jesus.
John 14 is about Jesus giving reassurance to his followers who are already worrying about Jesus leaving them. He was showing them that his going away was going to be the best thing for them (and for us).
- verse 3 – I am coming for you.
- verse 14 – You can ask me for anything and the Father will give it to you because he wants to be glorified (made famous).
- verse 15 – I’m giving you my Champion (Advocate, promoter, flag bearer).
- verse 17 – He’s lives among you and in you.
- verse 20 – Jesus is in the Father, we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us.
- verse 23 – The Father & Jesus are making their home in us. Now that’s radical hospitality!
When Jesus wanted to give peace to his followers – in the midst of very unstable times – he promised himself. By the Holy Spirit we have full access to the relationship of Jesus and the Father. God cannot be contained by creation but sets up home in us. And we don’t explode or have the skin melt off our faces!! Instead we get peace.
So, if normal life is throwing you all sorts of trouble and change and disaster, Jesus has a solution.
“Come on – love me, make room for Holy Spirit, and bring praises to the Father. It’s not a servant I’m looking for, it’s a lover. It’s not a show home I want to see – I’m looking for a real home where we can enjoy each other. Invite me to your dinner table and I’ll bring my banquet. Let me love you and you will come alive to love like you’ve never imagined.”