“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.” (John 16:33, ESV)
Peace. At the end of the day peace may be the one common thing every single one of us reaches for in this life. I’ve never met a person who desired for their life to be a train wreck, or who wants their mind to concentrate regularly on burdens, or who wants their waking moments to be full of anxiety (at least, I’ve never met a person who said they didn’t want peace). In fact, the people I know long for a real, genuine, almost tangible ease of mind and spirit.
As you read these words now consider asking yourself, “Do I know peace, real peace? Would those closest to me say that I have discovered true peace in my life?” These are good questions, great questions even. Still, perhaps we should ask whether or not we even know where to look for peace to begin with.
“In me you may have peace.” -Jesus Christ
What does it mean to have authentic, internal peace? The kind of unshakeable and deep-rooted confirmation of truth that assures the soul during moments (and even seasons) of doubt? This is the peace of which Christ speaks and of which He promises is found in Him.
Interestingly, an observer who reads all of John chapters 15 and 16 would easily point out that a large chunk of the verses is dedicated to describing persecution in the life of Christ’s followers, Christ’s friends. Jesus is clear: Follow Me and there will be hardship. John 16:2 says, “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” Still, this is not the end for the believer. Nor is it the doom of the friend of Christ. Instead, it may be to the believer’s delight that he may be discovered by this world so close to Christ that persecution (even unto death) would be in his path (see Acts 5:41; Galatians 2:20). Is persecution peace? No. The hardships, trials, and sufferings of this world are not our peace and this is not what Christ is teaching. Rather, Christ is our peace though we are surrounded by adversity.
Any sailor worth his salt knows how to navigate the waters during calm days. But what happens when the waters rage? Skillful, wise sailors are able to hold fast during the midst of storms because they trust their vessel, they trust in their ship to be able to ride out the wind and waves. Their experiences at sea have taught them valuable lessons about maintaining a steadfast spirit, when to drop anchor, how to hoist the sails, and the direction to turn the rudder. We, as believers, can fully trust that Christ carries us. No matter what the circumstances around us may be, Christ has already overcome all. He is the victor and He shares His victory with us.
Romans 8:35-37 reminds us, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Christ is the overcomer and He is our peace. Rather than believe you will be overcome by any storm in this life remember the truth that He is carrying you and He is forever faithful.