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. (John 16:33 NIV11)
My life is a bit hectic at the moment — four kids out of school for the summer. Details for moving one of them to the USA for university. Summer travel. Work. Neglected house projects. Hosting neighbors…so many details to sort out that my head is spinning.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a couple of days away for a spiritual retreat. I picked a quiet setting and explained to the hosts that I was getting away to reflect and enjoy silence. It was a perfect break from all the chaos, but as I said goodbye to the little brook I had enjoyed for 48 hours, fear began to overtake the peace. I knew my to-do list was long and urgent. I was worried about losing my grip on God’s grace and exploding at someone in my stress-ridden state.
Several days later, perusing my to-do list, the line saying “write devotional on peace” jumped out. What does peace look like in the midst of everything that needs to be done? Peace defines my retreat experiences, but during my day to day life, I find that peace is elusive.
Pondering this question, “What does peace look like in the midst of my daily life?” led me to scriptures on peace put together on the YouVersion Bible app. John 16:33 was one of the first verses that I read and the words “in me” and “I have overcome” stood out. I kept thinking about those words. It wasn’t saying that Jesus gives us peace to have on our own. It says that in Him we may have peace. It didn’t say that I need to overcome the world, but that He has overcome the world.
And then there it was. Peace. My eyes were turned back to Jesus and I recognized His peace. I realized that His peace isn’t elusive. His presence isn’t elusive. But I’m the one that is elusive. He’s always there, always offering peace in His presence.
My to-do list was still there and I was still working away at checking things off, but the anxiety and panic dissipated as I became aware of His presence.
"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." (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV11)
What is your experience of peace day in and day out?
What practices help you turn back to Jesus and accept His peace and presence?