253: Peace in Trying Times

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I think most people would agree that we live in trying times. From COVID, to the economy, to violence in our streets, to natural disasters, to man-made disasters, there are plenty of reasons to be troubled about the future. It’s no wonder that many people turn to alcohol or other sedatives to try to escape reality.

Peace of mind is a valuable commodity today, but it can’t be purchased off a store shelf. While some run around like Chicken Little, proclaiming “the sky is falling,” Jesus said that the life of His followers should be characterized by peace. Here’s His promise, “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)

Jesus did not make this promise while on vacation at some resort, lounging in the sun by a pool, sipping a cool beverage. No, He made His offer in the upper room, fully aware that in less than 24 hours He’d have spikes driven through His hands and feet, nailing Him to a cross.

Now, if I was aware that I would be arrested and tortured in a couple hours, I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t be a fun person to be around. My mind would be consumed with my situation. But Jesus was concerned about the needs of others. He washed the disciples’ feet and He told them He was providing a new way to relate to God through the Holy Spirit. By all appearances, He was at peace. And it was in that setting that He declared we could experience His-type of peace.

I observe two events which explain why Jesus was able to be at peace when His world was about to crash down around Him. The FIRST event took place later that evening in the olive grove in the Garden of Gethsemane. There He prayed to His heavenly Father and expressed His human desire to skip all the torture, humiliation, and pain. But He ended His prayer, saying, “not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) That is the first step to peace, submitting our will to God’s will. This was the pattern of Jesus’ life – “Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about Me in the scroll— I have come to do Your will, O God.’” (Hebrews 10:7) 

The SECOND event is observed in a conversation the next morning between Jesus and Pilate. When Jesus refused to answer him, Pilate tried to intimidate Him by boasting that he had the power to either free Him or to crucify Him. To Pilate’s boast Jesus responded, “You would have no power over Me if it were not given to you from above.” (John 19:11) Jesus experienced peace in this chaotic time because He knew that nothing could touch His life unless it had first been approved by His loving Father.

The world thinks peace is the result of having comfortable circumstances. The Christ-follower finds peace in submitting his or her life to God and being confident that nothing bad can touch them unless it finds approval by the God who loves them.

I don’t know what challenges are troubling you these days, but Jesus said that you don’t have to live that way. You can have peace by “casting your cares” (1Peter 5:7) and concerns on Him, knowing that God loves you and is working out His good plan in your life.

If you have not yet placed your faith in Jesus, peace in this life and peace with God for all eternity awaits you.

Marlon Furtado

I regularly went to church as a boy, but I was not exposed to the Gospel until I was nearly twenty years old. Hearing that God loved me in spite of my behavior was new to me. In response, I received Jesus Christ and became one of His followers on September 12, 1971. I practiced chiropractic for eight years before becoming a pastor from 1986 to 2018.