“If I find myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was not made for another world” CS Lewis
I wonder how it felt, to be the disciples with Jesus having a very real, painful conversation with them. We pick up in John 14 where Jesus is telling them that He is going away. Naturally, they are fearful. To which He replies
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, you believe God, believe also in me….I go to prepare a place for you”
I find great comfort in the fact that the disciples, who had walked with Jesus for almost His entire ministry, were still afraid. Even though they’d seen countless miracles, Peter even walked on water, they were still afraid. Perhaps, this conversation about Jesus leaving stirred up the waters of fear; I can imagine it would have with me. Jesus spends most of the chapter pretty much calming them down; reiterating that He and the Father are the same. That there is only One-Way to the Father, and that was He. But the questions, oh, the questions, they came fast and furious. Jesus begins to tell them that He is not leaving them alone, but He is leaving them a “comforter” or an “advocate” to give them Peace. Jesus told them
“Peace I leave with you, I do not give you peace as the world gives, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. (John 14:27)
I have knocked around in my head for a few days now, “what kind of peace does the world give me?”. That, certainly, has been a difficult question to answer in the climate we find ourselves. But as I thought about the times I am most at peace, it usually has something to do with geography, lack of work, lack of conflict, plenty of money in the bank, good reports from the doctors, all of my loved ones are safe, my business is thriving, I am not comparing myself to others, and many other things I can add to this list (including my beloved Jaguars winning a football game!). As I began to look at that list, on any given day one of those things is not true. I can’t always be in front of a body of water, there are plenty of times there is not enough money in the bank, I am constantly not measuring up to others, my health is not good, my loved ones are not safe, and the Jaguars stink. When I think about things that “steal my peace” I realize it is this kind of peace that is stolen; and it is this kind of peace that Jesus meant when He said, “I leave you peace not as the world gives you”.
So, what kind of Peace does He mean? This word, Peace, proves to be difficult to translate into English. The closest we can come here is “quiet”,” “restful”, or my favorite “to be made whole again”. It is that last translation that I think Jesus was telling them, as He would make His way to the cross soon after this conversation.
The price that was paid for us on the cross was so that we could have a steadfast Peace, one that never leaves and has nothing to do with geography, bank accounts, health or relationships. It does leave us wondering what that Peace looks like though; and how we can be mindful of differentiating the peace of this world and the Peace that was given to us in the way of The Advocate, The Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Because the truth of the matter is NOTHING can take that Peace away from us, it is up to us to search for it, and to find it; and to let it guide us through low bank accounts, poor health, broken relationships and everything in between. So, we can conclude that if there is unrest in our spirit there is a greater enemy at play. Jesus refers to our enemy as Prince of this world. He is the great deceiver, but here is the thing: He CANNOT take your steadfast Peace that Jesus gave you, he just CAN’T!! He is the author of confusion, where there is confusion there is not Jesus, not at the forefront, anyway. This leaves me wondering how I can walk through my days with this steadfast Peace. The Peace that nothing in this world can steal from me.
My mind immediately remembers a scene in one of the Narnia movies (The Voyage of The Dawn Treader). In one of the final scenes, Aslan has come to help Lucy in the war in Narnia. They walk across the bridge to fight, and “just in case” Lucy has her little knife to defend herself. I think it is beautiful that Lewis doesn’t have Aslan rebuke Lucy for this. I think the fact of the matter is our human minds cannot comprehend what Jesus really can do for us. He can protect us in wars; He can provide for us; He can heal us, but most of all, He gives us Peace that nothing, absolutely nothing can take from us. It is up to us to pay attention to it. It is up to us to differentiate the unrest in our spirits. That unrest is always peace that the world gives. There isn’t much peace in this world right now. I am so glad that He has gone to prepare a place for me; but until then, given me the Peace that passes ALL understanding.
“And I will keep him in perfect Peace, who’s mind is stayed on me; because he trusts in me”.
Searching & Clinging to that Peace Peace.