We see in Acts today the further adventures of Paul and Barnabas. These guys never had a dull moment! They went around to the different cities saying, “It is necessary to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” In the Gospel reading, we hear Jesus saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
It may seem that those two things, hardship and peace, are mutually exclusive. During times of hardship, we seem to have little peace. And when we feel at peace, we’re not undergoing hardship. But does it have to be that way? Can we feel peace in the midst of hardship?
Some of the people I admire most in my life are those who seem to have peace about them always - even in the midst of great trial. I've lost friends to cancer who exhibited such peace in great suffering, even to the end. I've seen it accomplished. I know it can be done. I pray that we can find that peace in hardship.
Father, we thank you for those times of hardship. Help us to not only accept them, but embrace them as part of our “entrance exam” for heaven, and to experience peace even in the midst of our trials. Amen.
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