Today in our readings, we see one of the great paradoxes of our faith. In the first reading, we hear Paul and Barnabas telling the people, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Not a real popular message, I’m sure. In the Gospel reading from John 14, Jesus says to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”
One may readily assume that these two concepts are mutually exclusive. Peace. Hardship. Like oil and water. The two don’t coexist, right? If you have hardship, you don’t have peace. And if you have peace, you must not have hardship. Right? Well, not necessarily. Now, this can certainly be the case. And I think for most, it indeed is the mindset. But in those who are truly in tune with the Spirit, like many of the great saints, we see that the two can coexist.
This is one thing that I, for one, admire greatly in people. Have you ever met someone who seems to have such peace, even in the midst of some of the worst storms life has to offer? These are people who know what it means to trust God; to believe that He truly is in control. Acts today lets us know that hardships are not something that is negotiable. They’re coming; on that we can bank. The peace part is really up to us. It is there for the taking. We just need to trust and believe to find it.
Father, help us to bear the hardships that will inevitably come our way. Give us the faith and trust in Jesus that brings peace in the midst of the hardships. Amen.