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Pointers along the way #148

Peace from Christ
- Jacob Ninan

Many people in the world are pursuing after peace of mind and heart, and many claim to have got it through meditation, physical and mental exercises, etc. On the other hand Jesus promises to give us peace, and yet not as the world gives (Jn.14:27). He didn't teach His disciples some new techniques by which they could get this peace. They just received it from Him by faith. Are these two different types of peace? Yes, very much.

Peace in this world is something we can have when there is no war, turmoil, trouble, problem, tension, stress, etc. In order to enjoy such peace, we need to move away to some tranquil surroundings, preferably with some soft music playing in the background, and get away from all that is bothering us. We relax our muscles and let go of all the tension there. We put away from our minds all thoughts of events and people that have been troubling us, by making our minds blank or focussing on some peaceful subject or object. The good thing about this kind of peace is that it helps us to get rid of some of the stress that we have piled up in our life and gives us a fresh start. But the bad news is that we do have to get back to our problems, and if we have not learned any better coping mechanism, they can get back on our head again!

But Jesus gives peace, not as the world gives. He said that we are not going to be able to get away altogether from problems because they are a part of this life (Jn.16:33). Wasn't He the ultimate realist? He also said that in addition to the usual problems that people face in this world, we would also have some special problems because we belong to Him! The world would hate us because we belong to Jesus (Jn.15:19). In fact some of our worst enemies could be from our own family! (Mt.10:36). Some of us would be put to death, like most of the apostles were (Mt.24:9). A time is coming when we won't be able to buy any food because we don't have the mark of the antichrist (Re.13:17). And yet we can have peace - in the midst of these problems!

God will prepare a feast for us in the midst of our enemies. Our cup of peace and joy will overflow even then (Ps.23:5). The peace that Jesus gives is not dependent on the absence of problems or their avoidance, but something He gives us supernaturally that we can experience in spite of the problems. How else can we explain Paul and Silas singing hymns in jail with their feet in stocks, and Peter sleeping soundly when his execution was planned for the next day? (Acts.16:24,25;12:6).

Relaxing, working it out with exercises or games, taking a break and getting away from it all - all this is fine as far as it goes (1Ti.4:8). We need these to handle stress. But let us not forget the peace that only God can give. We receive it by faith when we love His laws and work righteousness, place our trust in Him and learn from Him, and let our minds to dwell on Him (Ps.4:8;55:18;119:165;Is.26:3;32:17;Mt.11:29).