Lately I have been thinking on what it looks like to have peace, to be at peace, and how the world ultimately is far from any semblance of peace. I’m not sure if it is the political campaigning going on here in the US or if it’s the recent bombings taking place internationally…or possibly it’s the unsettled heart within, but it’s this deep-seeded absence of peace I am seeing more and more.
The outward expressions of conflict, retribution, war and fighting that engulf our news-cycles, neighborhoods and social media have long been present. They are the cries of a world that doesn’t have peace within. They are turning out what they cannot find within, now we just have so many more outlets to see it broadcast, analyzed and speculated upon. Ultimately it’s the root of a fallen earth, an earth that is shaken by a lack of peace.
“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.” (John 14:27, NIV)
This peace isn’t a sweeping global peace. It’s a peace that is carried within as a follower of Christ. It’s a peace that isn’t sustained by our own doing, uncontrolled by us or our grasping for it. No, this peace comes from a sovereign and loving God that we cannot understand in our limited thinking (Philippians 4:7). It’s a faith embodied by a life without seeking retribution for wrongs, a life not at war in every moment, freedom from fear.
This peace given by Christ was in the midst of comforting His disciples as He prepared them for His death and resurrection. He’s reminding them that He was with them for a set time and then He would send a Helper to be with them, live within them. He gives us peace through the Holy Spirit, and yet we often seek it in so many other ways and means.
Look back at these words here and in Philippians 4. He gives us His peace-a perfect peace of a Holy God. It’s a peace that guards, protects, gives freely and abundantly. We aren’t to fear or be troubled in the coming times, in our circumstances or seasons. We are alive in the peace of God, no longer bogged down by fretting, fear and sorrow.
I love that these words here in John then lead us to the story of the vine and branches. That this peace we are gifted means we are grafted into the true vine, one has a Gardener which prunes us to bear fruit out of this peace we are given. A peace that calls us to remain in Him, in the vine, as the branch to bear fruit of peace to others. We have a peace available to us that isn’t fleeting or momentarily-coupled to where we are. It is firmly flowing in us in the Holy Spirit, given as Christ gives-abundantly, lovingly, and mercifully….and eternally.
The peace that seems so absent all around us, is fully flowing in us. It’s a peace we know, freedom we have through Christ if we but choose to believe He gives good gifts to those He calls brothers and sisters in Christ. Peace doesn’t look like what we envision, because He is so much more than what we could ever dream.
As His image-bearers, may we reflect and pour out peace from our lives just as He abundantly gave it to us.