Why do we continue fighting a fruitless war for a peace we can never obtain? There is a peace available that the battle worn can rest in.
27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.
Peace. Jesus’ words in verse 27 caused me to pause. What does He mean that He gives us peace, but not as the world gives us peace? Ok, how does the world give peace? Lately, there seems to be a lot of fighting going on. Looking back in history, peace is usually short lived. We fight for peace, isn’t that ironic? Peace is conditional, isn’t it? A peace treaty is usually a contract between two countries coming to some sort of consensus or agreement. Usually, each party involved has to give something up. Jesus continues by explaining exactly what He means of this peace He gives us.
Later, when the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans, he states in Chapter 5, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” We long for peace. Whether or not we admit it, our souls are in constant movement striving to find a balance of peace with this world. Some of us do it by fighting, others do it by ignoring. Some hold up signs in front of organizations while others post pictures about them on facebook. Many of us turn to addictive behaviors to balance out the peace we seem to be missing in our lives. How much does that accomplish? We use more, talk more, fight more, ignore more…the cycle continues and we keep trying more and more to find that peace but it just results in less peace and more fruitless labor. The peace of God works differently.
Have you ever experienced a peace that you haven’t worked for? My best example would be the work of the military. Today’s war doesn’t quite match up to what I’m trying to explain, so let’s go back to WWII. Europe was a warzone. Many people were displaced and battles happened in innocent towns taken over by warring forces. As the war ended, I wonder what it felt like to the civilians who had been constantly under siege. How did that peace feel? They didn’t fight for it. They really had no choice in the war itself, it just happened to them. When the war ended and there was finally peace in the land, I wonder what it felt like to be able to come out of hiding. I wonder what it felt like to not have the fear of more bombings in your town. I imagine the allied forces pulling back, walking through towns telling the people, “do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Peace given to you as a result of someone else’s efforts is certainly not common. This is the peace God gives us and it does not waiver.
God’s eternal peace is just that: eternal. By going to the Father (dying and then ascending into heaven), Jesus was able to give us His peace, through the Holy Spirit. “War is coming,” Jesus warned, “but what I am about to do will secure your peace.” Have you found that peace or are you still trying to fight for it? The peace beyond all understanding is available, despite our battles. Will you receive it or keep fighting a fruitless war?