Peace!

Have you ever lost sleep because your mind is still racing in the middle of the night? And your heart has a dull ache that won’t quit? When a rough conversation with your spouse, a friend, or a colleague is on constant replay. And you’re recycling an endless set of “I-should-haves” at 3 AM?

Then you need peace.

Have you ever found yourself trying to rearrange numbers when your wages won’t cover the bills? Or struggled as your job starts to wobble and no other opportunities are likely? Or felt the pain of a lost pregnancy? Or known the betrayal of an unfaithful spouse?

Then you need peace.

It doesn’t help to be told that peace is God’s fruit in a believer’s heart—as the Spirit brings “love, joy, and peace” and more. We all know that words by themselves can’t perform magic. And using guilt to prod someone—“C’mon, just get over it!” only makes things worse.

What does help is an embrace—some genuine love along with some caring arms. Think about the child who trips and lands badly. Loud tears immediately explode from a grimaced face while a parent rushes to the scene: “Let me see your hand!” After a quick check for broken skin or other signs of damage the parent wraps the child with an embrace for as long as needed. Call it a parent-to-child peace transfer. Somehow it works! And the child soon gets on with life.

But as adults we don’t have a parent to run to for a hug when the tears are streaming and when fears flood over the banks of our former security. All too often we’re left alone. We may even try to hide. But time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some hurts just stay and ache.

That’s when you need peace—the peace that comes with a long and healing embrace from one who loves you. From someone big enough, wise enough, and who loves you enough. Who can share his peace with you.

So let’s turn to what Jesus shared with his troubled disciples in their last supper just before he was betrayed and crucified. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

His words might seem empty if we race past them in our pain. Instead we need to sit with them for a time to let them unfold and enfold our hearts.

The context is important. Jesus had just told his group of beloved disciples that one of them would betray him—and Judas promptly went out and did exactly that. But Jesus then had a startling response—something very unlike what “the world” offers. “When he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man is glorified’” (John 13:31).

The lesson Jesus offers us is that we’re in the middle of an epic battle between God and his arch foe Satan. And Jesus was about to swallow death—and all the pain, aches, hurts, and tears that death unleashed in Eden—by becoming death on our behalf. And this was the Son’s great glory—coming by way of his crucifixion. Resurrection followed.

So for now we’re living in the time between our dying with Christ—as those united to him by faith—and our own coming day of physical resurrection. So, as Paul reminds us in Galatians 2:20, each of us is now, “crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

If we return to John’s gospel we get the promise of relationship—the embrace we need in times of pain, in 14:16—“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper [comforter, counselor], to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

This is what Jesus did. The “fruit of the Spirit” comes as he offers us inward hugs—an embrace of our soul—that is as real as anything a parent can offer a child.

But how do we get it?

The first condition is that we need to have Christ’s Spirit dwelling in us. If he isn’t present then this blog amounts to so much nonsense. Because you “neither see him nor know him.” That’s solved by turning to Christ with the cry, “Lord, I need you! Please take your place as God in my life!”

And with the Spirit’s indwelling presence we simply need to find a quiet place and say, “Lord, I need you! Please comfort me—I’m really hurting right now!”

Then take some time in the Word to give him his voice in your life. And peace will come. I promise you. I’ve been there. It’s a peace that passes understanding.

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