” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. “
Although we can clearly see from this verse that trouble is inevitable and in that sense really should require no explanation as to its existence, we think that we need to understand what God’s plans are or why things are happening to us in order to be at peace. Just like in John Chapter 13 – 16, where the disciples are confused and they so much want to understand. Jesus tries to explain through figures of speech – the foot washing, the vine and branches, the woman in childbirth…….
Ray Stedman writes, ” The security of the disciples rested on the ability they thought they had to understand what Jesus was saying to them. They wanted to know, and then they thought they would feel at peace. “Now we know,” they said. “Now we understand that you are indeed from God” They felt a sense of security because they understood that.
This is so like us! We think that God has to explain what we’re going through and that then we’ll feel secure. Our peace wants to rest upon a certain knowledge of what is happening. But our Lord is very careful to point out that this kind of peace is very insecure indeed. Jesus continues in John 16:31-33…
You say you know who I am. You say you understand that I came from God and that I know all things. Do you know that within an hour’s time you will be so confused and so uncertain of what is happening you will run away and leave Me alone? Rather than trusting Me to work things out, you’ll forsake Me and not want to be identified with Me. And yet I’ll not be alone. My security won’t be threatened in that hour, for the Father is with Me. And I say this to you in order that you might know the kind of peace I have. It is not based on what happens, or even on my understanding of what happens, but upon a trust in the One who controls what happens. I say this to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you’re going to have nothing but trouble–trouble at work, trouble at school, trouble in your home, trouble in your family. You’ll have nothing but trouble, because that is the way this world is. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
Isn’t that an encouraging word? I have gone through times of great personal stress and deep sorrow, times of uncertainty and lack of understanding, not knowing what God was working out, perceiving Him to be working in ways that I have thought were utterly wrong, thinking He had no business doing things like this to me. And I’ve had to rest back upon these tremendous revelations of His Word.
You can have my peace, Jesus says,
My sense of securitywhich rests not in the circumstances, not in the understanding of the circumstances that we so crave, but in a confidence that the One who is guiding the circumstances knows what He is doing. That is where peace comes from.”
Erwin McManus in his talk ‘The Missing Peace’ goes even further to say that maybe this “world” that Christ has overcome isn’t even the world that surrounds us, but is actually the world that is within us. The constant chatter and coming and going of thoughts, emotions, judgments, fears, worries and opinions. Most of us are nothing less than at war within ourselves and our main concern should be in bringing God’s peace into our own hearts.
We can be at peace within, no matter our outer circumstances. Jesus tells us flat out, “In this world you will have trouble”. Therefore this shouldn’t exactly be a surprise when we experience trouble within our own lives. Peace does not come from a perfectly planned out life, having all the answers, a self help book, or successfully managing every challenge we face. True peace comes from trusting God and letting Him rule or hearts.
Fear and worry steal our peace. Don’t let them. Let God. Live in Him and let Him live in you. He is your peace. The missing peace.
To listen to Erwin’s podcast ‘The Missing Peace’ click here. Episode #46
Lord, grant that we learn to make You our source of peace rather than seeking peace from our circumstances or our understanding of what you are doing.