Finding peace in troubled times through God

Published 9:20 am Friday, May 7, 2010

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  … Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” — John 14:27

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Jesus, isn’t that a bit much to ask of us, especially now? So the car bomb in Times Square didn’t go off this time. What about the next time someone tries to blow us up?  The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is out of control. The economy may be turning around, but I’m still “lost in the dust.” As a white Caucasian, I will be in the minority in my “own” country by 2050 if not before. (Now some of us know what the Native Americans felt when they saw all those covered wagons meandering over the Great Plains.) The political pundits tell us that not since the 1890s has our nation been so divided. We are frustrated and angry because we are afraid.

In the midst of the social and political storm in which we find ourselves, our Lord comes to us with a promise of peace. Many associate peace as the absence of that which troubles us — the cessation of conflict. Yet, in a family that knows division, to be silent and not speak to one another is not the same as peace. Our relationship with countries such as Iran and North Korea can not be described as peaceful even though gun shots are not being exchanged. 

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The peace of which Jesus speaks is the sense of security that comes with placing one’s trust in him (in Christ). Earlier, in John 14:23 Jesus said, “Those who love me will keep my word.” The interpretation of “keep” goes beyond being obedient. Perhaps a better translation would be “holds dear.” We want to resist when someone tells us what to do without consulting us. However “holding something dear” implies a positive attitude. We want to hear and obey out of love for the speaker.

It has been said that no one would be able to love Jesus if the Father had not first loved us in sending his Son into our world. God informed us as to where he desires to spend his time; namely within the heart …within the heart that holds him dear.  

1 John 4:18 reads, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Fear and faith cannot exist together. Neither can fear and peace. Such emotions and points of view grow out of our perception of reality …that which we believe to be true.  Whose words will we hold dear …those of Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann?  Or will we hold dear the words of Jesus the Christ?  It may be the difference between living in fear or in possessing peace.