Hidey-Ho neighbors! This is Angie, and today we are considering something we hear mentioned a lot around Advent: PEACE. If you didn’t get a chance to read through the scriptures for today, pause this podcast for a moment (unless you’re driving) and read John 14:27 and Matthew 11:28-30.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about PEACE, and how one can plant it deeply into a heart. A year ago, in the midst of Covid and a million unknowns, my Care and Compassion Ministry team read a short book together by Corrie Ten Boom. The book, entitled “Amazing Love” was full of so much wisdom and wonderful truths that it became a healing balm to our weary and troubled souls. Her testimony oozes PEACE, which seems unbelievable considering the pain and suffering she endured for so long.
Two simple quotes from Corrie Ten Boom remind me of the struggle we often face with PEACE, and both tie into our scripture reading for today. Quote #1: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
In John 14, as Jesus is preparing the disciples for his impending crucifixion, He reminds them (and us) that He is leaving peace. Of all the things He could have left behind, He simply said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.” He was leaving a gift that would help them as they navigated the difficult and unknown days that were ahead.
Do you feel His peace? Has His peace helped you navigate difficult and unknown days of the past or present? If I’m honest, there are some days when I feel His peace, and other days when I do not.
On days when I do not, it’s often me not trusting in His sovereignty and care for me, in me not fully believing the things I know about Him, even though He has revealed His faithfulness over and over. With that in mind, let’s consider our Godly heritage, going back to the Old Testament with some of our brothers and sisters in the faith.
For example, I cannot fathom the decision that Jochebed faced in Exodus. She is a woman of courage and strength, one who trusted an unknown future to a known God. Who is she? She is the biological mother of Moses. She acted with peace, ultimately fulfilling God’s redemptive plan for Moses and for an entire nation!
Have you ever stood by the sea and marveled at its power, at the deafening roar, and felt tiny in comparison? Now imagine if chariots and evil men with weapons were pressing down on you as you stood on the edge of that mighty water. And then, just as He promised, God parts the sea and a path of escape unfolds right before your eyes. And before you can even process it all, the sea closes and your enemies are crushed. I cannot imagine how the Israelites would have felt peace in that moment. Yet, we know even when they did not understand, they trusted their unknown future to a known God.
How was Jochebed, Moses with the Israelites, and Corrie Ten Boom all able to find peace despite everything bad happening around them?
The answer takes us to Quote #2 of Corrie Ten Boom.
Quote #2: “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability, that counts.”
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11 that when we are weary and burdened, we should come to Him! Verse 28 in the Amplified Bible says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavily burdened by religious rituals that provide no peace, and I will give you rest, refreshing your souls with salvation.”
My weariness, or lack of peace, usually appears when I put my trust in my own ability, or when I become uninspired or find burdensome my daily spiritual disciplines, or when I strive in ways that are not life-giving or God-honoring. All that focus puts the spotlight on me and not on our Peacemaker. In those moments, I value those who stop and pray with me, or remind me of God’s consistent and forever unchanging faithfulness, or who can sometimes simply say to me, “chill out!”
Peace is not something that comes natural to most of us. It is like a muscle that needs to be exercised frequently. If you start to feel a lack of peace, ask yourself why, and then remember Jesus knew we would have days like these: He prepared ahead of time to help us by leaving us the gift of peace. Father, thank you for the gift of peace. Would you help us plant that gift in our hearts as we trust an unknown future to a known God, and we put our faith in your ability and not our own. Help us to believe you are faithful and to rest in the peace you have given to us. Amen.