Wow! This event and promise is revolutionary. Christ's peace is a presence, not an absence, of something...something heavenly upon the earth. It is powerful and substantial - a manifestation of His resurrection life. His peace is an ongoing ripple effect of this resurrection and a ramification of His ascension up to this present day. He left us physically, but He left us His pervading peace, by the Holy Spirit. His peace has the strength to negate anything that troubles our hearts or causes us to be afraid. Jesus distinguishes the peace He provides from the lesser kinds of "peace" that the things of this world temporarily impart. This is transcendent peace that outshines any competition. It is indomitable in nature. It can literally scare the hell out of the people and environments around us. It is in the next verse that Jesus tells his followers that He is sending them out to all the world to represent Him. What would we be like if we didn't have any fear? If nothing could trouble our heart? Though troubles and fears are in the air all around us, He says that we do not have to let them in by staying more aware of His presence with us and the satisfying peace that attends it.
Peace be with you and with us all this day, my friends. Feel it. Drink it in. Relish it. Revel in it. Embrace it. Breathe it in. It's all around us and within us already. I feel it in my bones this morning as I write these words!
Today I am pondering before God and praying about the scope, heights and depths of all the pains, traumas, sufferings and sins of human experience across the planet throughout history and up to our present day. In a way it feels like its above my pay grade to attempt to consider. What is the measure of the told and untold toll that evil has had upon human lives? The brutality of war. The horror of murder. The shame of rape and incest. The shock of genocide. The fallout from megalomaniacs in power. The violation of robbery. And this is not to mention the multiplied griefs and sorrows that flow from more subtle and/or gradual evils? The breakdown from addictions. The ripple effects of greed. The oppression of pride. The betrayal of lies and deceit. The damage of gossip and slander. The heartache of broken promises. The marks of false accusation. We could add to the list. Without doubt, as Saint Peter says in the passage above: We have inherited a "futile way of life" from our forefathers. Moreover, upon examination, we find that we ourselves have sometimes, in various ways, contributed to the pain of our fellows...and even ourselves.
The human spirit yet cries out in agony for an answer. The broken human heart laments and longs for a solution. Is God to blame? Isn't He loving, good and all-powerful? Why doesn't He do something about it all? Is He able or willing to design a sweeping one-stroke solution for the problem of evil in our world? Is there a way for Him to detox humanity from all the multiplied pain and sorrow of life on this planet? Is He able and willing to redeem us out of our misery? If He did, what would it look like? How would we lay hold of it?
Everything in the Bible points to the fact that God has indeed already done something to completely mitigate the problem of evil in our world....and its fallout. But it hasn't come in the way that we would have scripted the story. It centers upon God literally coming to be with us in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. He is Immanuel - God with us. All that He is and all that He has done is the key to the door of freedom. It was indeed a "sweeping one stroke solution" and it has come to us shrouded in mystery, wonder and beautiful irony. One main feature of this is that God does not force His wondrous solution upon us. Rather, His Holy Spirit is wooing us, beckoning us, to see past our presenting pains, sorrows and inherited futile ways long enough to look into the Face of True Love and humbly receive the priceless rescue and redemption that Christ purchased for us with His vicarious suffering and death on the cross and...His subsequent comprehensive victory over all sin, death and all the powers of darkness through His resurrection and ascension.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.