In the first reading today from Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas tell the people, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” This is a message that is not very popular. Therefore, many today want to avoid this part of the message. They want to paint Christianity as a “feel good” religion only. But our Christian walk is not all about feeling good.
I’m sure you’ve found that, even when you’re walking closely with Christ, you undergo hardships. It is part of the human condition, and just because we profess faith in Christ does not make us exempt from failed relationships, financial troubles, illness, etc. These are all things we must deal with on a regular basis. The question is how do we respond to these hardships? Are we living in a constant state of worry and fear? Or can we have peace in the midst of these trials? That brings us to our Gospel reading from John 14.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” We can certainly have peace in the midst of hardships. How? By accepting the peace that only Christ gives. Jesus’ peace is intrinsically different from the world’s peace. The world gives us a transitory peace. When things are going our way, we feel peace. But as soon as storms come, peace goes by the wayside. Why? Because that kind of peace is centered on us and the things of the world. We’re peaceful when we feel in control. But as soon as that sense of control goes away, so does our peace. Only when we understand that Jesus is in control of everything will we begin to feel true peace. And the more we give up control (which we never had in the first place!), the more Christ’s peace will reign in our hearts.
Father, we long for peace in our hearts. Help us to give all to Jesus, that we may more fully experience His peace in our lives. Amen.