I’m relaxed this morning, sitting outside in the garden, sun shining, joined by one of our dogs who’s sprawled out on the lawn, neither of us with any great stress in our lives. It’s the kind of day you would like to have every day. If only life was that kind.
Sadly it isn’t. While I’m retired and relaxing I know many others are in work, some enjoying what they do but others not so much. Some will hate their jobs and every day is a drudge, longing for the weekend and dreaming about a holiday in the sun. To make life seem more amenable there might be regular trips to the pub for a quiet pint, or a few hours spent watching or playing their favourite sport, anything from darts to taekwondo. For the non sporting there’s an evening in front of the TV to dull the mind and help with forgetting the miserable day in work, and the knowledge that it will all be happening again the next day. Add to that money worries and relationship problems, and you can see why relaxing isn’t easy for some, the mind always filled with worry.
Sorry to present such a gloomy picture but that’s how it is for many of us, anxious and burdened with many worries. It’s extremely damaging to people’s mental health and sadly, it becomes too much for some people. All they want is peace and they can’t find it.
That’s where Jesus can help. He once said to his disciples, “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.” (1) He acknowledged that the world can give a sort of peace, but it’s short term and never lasts. You might find it in your next run or cycle ride, at the bottom of a glass, in the next injection, making yourself look beautiful to feel good about yourself, meditating, there are all sorts of short term ways of finding inner peace. None will last and none will satisfy like the peace that Jesus can give. It’s a peace that you can have no matter how overwhelming this world can be. Paul the Apostle knew about it and encouraged others to find it. He wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (2)
The peace that Jesus gives, the peace of God, is beyond understanding. You can experience it when life is at its best and when it’s at its worst. In the most dire situations God’s peace can be with you to support you. It’s a long term peace, not a short term fix, in fact, it’s there for eternity. Every day this peace can be experienced and it can sustain you in your darkest hour. It comes as you pray, take your problem to God and find that peace being given to you. I was fortunate to have the trust of many parents when I was a senior manager in a school. I recall someone saying “It’s ok, Mr Peers will sort it”, and an agitated parent’s mind was put at ease as they trusted in me. That’s how it is with the peace of God. Take your problem to him, leave it there, expect him to sort it and enjoy the peace that he gives you.
There is one important caveat. The peace Jesus offered was to his disciples, it’s not for everyone, although God will always listen to whoever comes to him in prayer. A disciple is a follower and a disciple of Jesus is someone who follows Jesus. A disciple of Jesus trusts him, believes that he loves them and died for them, understands that he will do anything for them, and so commits themselves to him. A disciple of Jesus follows Jesus and lives for him.
If you want peace in your life it’s possible. You can know a peace that is beyond understanding but you first have to come to Jesus and follow him. It’s worth it for the peace alone but with Jesus you get so much more. Sins forgiven, eternal life, a new life, a fresh start. Jesus offers you so much. Just reach out and take it and follow him.
- John 14:27
- Philippians 4:6,7