What picture comes to mind when you think of the word, “peace?”
I once heard a trusted mentor say that when she pictures peace, she doesn’t see a white, sandy beach with palm trees. She doesn’t see a meadow full of wildflowers gently swaying in the breeze. While these are certainly lovely images, she went on to explain that when she pictures “peace,” she imagines a tiny, delicate bird perched on a thin branch with a raging waterfall right behind it. Even though the waterfall could easily sweep the bird away in an instant, and the bird is aware of the dangers surrounding it, there is also the provision of safety and protection provided by the branch.
I think of this image often when I meditate on Jesus’ words in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)
Notice this verse does not say, “if” you have trouble, it says, “you will have trouble.” It’s a guarantee that we will have trouble in this life, and you don’t even have to be alive very long to know how true this is. We do our best to avoid or escape trouble, but somehow it keeps coming our way. I could list many that I am currently facing, and there’s a good chance you might resonate with several on my list right now as well. However, instead of comparing lists, I’d like to instead focus on the incredible promise Jesus presents us with in that verse.
Jesus tell us, “…in me you may have peace.” Jesus is that branch. He is our safety, security, provision, and protection in the midst of the circumstances of life, the craziness of the world, or the enemy of our souls attempting to take us out.
“But take heart! I have overcome the world.” No matter what comes our way, what Jesus has already done for us allows us to live in this place of confidence. He disarmed death and made a way for us to have eternal life with Him in heaven, a place where there are no tears, or pain, or suffering. And while we are still here on Earth, He gives us glimpses of this reality in His provision of peace in the midst of storms.
I received my own picture of His peace on my 40th birthday recently as a literal storm was swirling around my home threatening to take out the party taking place on our patio. Several times, my husband and I, as well as a few of our friends, rebuked that storm just as Jesus did from the boat with his terrified disciples as he demonstrated His authority over the winds and the waves (Mark 4).
The wind blew and a few drops of rain sprinkled our heads, but those dark clouds never unleashed their fury on our party. We were able to stay outside and enjoy the patio party that spilled out into our lawn on a beautiful summer evening. We never had to pack up the food, drinks, tables, and chairs and head inside. One friend even commented, “Hey, this wind is great air conditioning since it was so hot earlier!” As my husband continued grilling chicken on the deck above us, he took a moment to pause and peer down upon a euphony of laughter and smiles as good friends enjoyed each other’s company. What a glimpse of Heaven!
Power, presence, and promise preserve peace.
The storms are swirling, the troubles are lurking, but we can have peace in the midst of them. Our peace comes from the power and authority Jesus has over our troubles as well as the best part, His presence with us. Our prayers release His power, and His presence is always with us as the Holy Spirit lives inside us (1 Corinthians 6:19). Sometimes peace comes from just knowing that everything will be made right in eternity with Him, and we can remind ourselves of that promise in His Word.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3).
It’s in the context of this conversation with His disciples that Jesus states, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Grip firmly to that branch in front of the waterfall! Enjoy the party in good company even if the clouds are nearby! Jesus has made a way, and He provides peace every step of that way.
“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” (John 14:27).
I am a child of God, a wife to Seth, and a mother to James, Luke, and Eva. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I became a “new creation” at the age of 23 when I surrendered my life to Jesus and was delivered from a decade of depression. Read more...