Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Speaking Peace

These things have I spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. John 16:33 NKJV

I was just getting over a long-term illness. For the past two years the situation had been made worse by job pressures, financial pressures, culture changes and loneliness. I was against the wall spiritually and in constant, moderate pain.
Then, my son married on a Caribbean island and I was surprised by being able to attend. Afterward, I had two extra days before my plane left and I spent most of that time sitting in the edge of the surf. No schedule to keep. No appointments or responsibilities; just sand and the anti-inflammatory properties of salt water.
I knew my illness had been getting better for several months still I was shocked when I realized all pain was gone. After years of constantly hurting, there was nothing; only the sound of surf, warm air, the colors of a tropical sunset. And, no pain. The experience happened more than a decade ago, but I clearly remember the peace that settled over my soul like a being wrapped in a fireplace-warmed blanked on a cold winter's day.
What are your memories of peace? A warm fire on a rainy evening? A baby sleeping on your breast? Coming home from a long trip? Or, a long war? Peace.
As Jesus prepared to leave the earth, He wanted His followers to know they had a resource for peace. He warned them it would not be the same kind of temporary peace they enjoyed in the world, [1] but “peace” was the closest word in their language to describe it. The peace would be a real experience and it would come to them through the words He spoke.
Have you experienced this kind of peace? Perhaps it was when the turmoil of guilt ripped at your conscience and you remembered His words about forgiveness. Or maybe you were lonely then suddenly, inexplicably felt Him nearby almost as friend with friend. Were you ever tossing between two options and torn about which way to go when a verse made the path plain and throbbing questions settled into silence?
If you have not experienced these things in a while, do you want to? Pick up a Bible. Peace starts through hearing the things Jesus said. Words were His parting gift to us. Words with the power to provide peace.
[1] John 14:27

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