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 couldn’t count the number of times I’ve preached from The Upper Room Discourse, much less the number of times I’ve written on it in my devotions. It always blesses me! This particular verse is read or quoted at a high percentage of funerals, but it has far broader application than that. All sorts of things work to “trouble” (the Japanese says, “make noisy and confused”) our hearts. Jesus tells us to have none of that. He points out that He is giving us His peace. Often we don’t recognize but a fraction of what He has provided, and so we fail to appropriate it. Jesus is saying here, “I’m giving you My peace, so don’t settle for anything less.” We apply the standards of the world to everything, and what He gives us just doesn’t fit. We need to open the eyes of our hearts to see the incredible riches He has poured out on us, not simply to recognize and appropriate those riches but to live lives of gratitude and praise appropriate to His grace.
I have certainly been going through a training period for appropriating the peace of Christ, with my wife’s brain surgery. I definitely slept better last night because she came through it very well, without damage to her cognitive or sensory functions. However, I need to apply the peace of Christ far more broadly than that. The political situation in the US has made my heart “noisy and confused” many times, and that is completely unnecessary. The worldwide mess of Islam has likewise troubled me. However, regardless of the issue, no matter how big or how personal, I need to remember that God is bigger, God is stronger, and He isn’t going to leave things as they are. It was over 20 years ago now that I was lying in bed, not actively praying but just thinking, “There are so many things I wish were different.” Suddenly I heard in my spirit, so clearly I might have thought it was a physical voice, “How do you think I feel?” I knew in that moment that the mess we live through isn’t because God wants things that way, but because He wants children who turn to Him of their own volition, who love Him because they want to and not because they have to. I also had deep assurance that, just as the Bible tells us, in the end, we win. I need to remember those two points all the time so that I won’t let go of the peace Christ provides, but rather let it flow through me to those around me who are so in need of it.
Father, thank You yet again for Your amazing grace. Thank You indeed for Cathy’s highly successful surgery. I do ask for rapid recovery from that, and for freedom from any unnecessary pain. Thank You also that my cold seems to have passed the peak. Keep me even now from giving it to anyone else, and from letting it keep me from doing anything You would have me do. Help me walk in faith, trust, and obedience at all times in all ways, so that people will recognize that You are holy and so that Your kingdom will come as Your will is done in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!