Peace When it All Seems Lost

Mary looked into the tomb, and he was gone. Two angels were sitting in the tomb and they asked Mary, “Woman, why are you crying?” (John 20: 13) She turned from the tomb and encountered Jesus, but she didn’t recognize Him. She was lost in her grief and not able to see whom she had just found, her Savior stood in front of her. Thinking Jesus was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned to him and cried out…“Rabboni!”—the Hebrew word for “teacher”.(John 20: 15-16). Without ceremony or fanfare, Jesus reached out with what could only be described as Peace into the darkened world of Mary. Mary was grief-stricken and unwilling, or unable to behold the truth in front of her. It took only a simple gesture–Jesus calling her name–to open her eyes so she could see beyond the lost state she was in and bring her peace. He sent her to tell the disciples what she had seen, to tell them the news! When Jesus comes to us do we recognize Him? Do we see Him? Do we listen? Or do we assume or “know” it is someone else, or something else at work? Are we blinded by our own interpretation of “reality” or “truth” and unable or unwilling to accept any other possibility? But the real question is this: when we do open our eyes to Him, to the peace he brings, will we share that new state we are in with others?

Peace When You Doubt

Daily we hear stories in the news about murders, wars in all parts of the world, persons being taken away in the prime of their lives due to illnesses, and cultural battles of right and wrong. We ask ourselves, “Does God even care about what’s going on? Where is He? Why doesn’t He do something about all this?” Slowly but surely our doubts cause us to lose hope. We become anxious. We become fearful. We begin to question who will help us deal with all the problems that we face. We want to know where peace and assurance come from in the midst of despair and fear. It all seems impossible that we can survive unscathed and confident in the midst of all that we’ll face in our lifetime. But God specializes in the impossible. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. If he can do that, He can help you overcome your doubts, woes, and fears. Shadows we face in life are of the world. But there is no shadow that comes from our heavenly father. His light is constant. When we face shadows of uncertainty, we have the assurance that God is with us. He dispels darkness. He destroys fear and restores confidence. He outnumbers our enemy. But we must turn to Him with full faith and assurance that He is walking beside us and guiding us through the circumstances of our lives. We must learn to rely upon God and not on our own human understanding. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the rock eternal.”

When You’re Stuck

What is it about Peter that is so endearing to us? Peter was impulsive, emotional, erratic, and impetuous. Yet, Peter was the first apostle to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus said to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) Peter was clearly much loved by Jesus and along with James and John was part of Jesus’ “inner circle.” In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Once, Peter and the other apostles had spent the night fishing and had nothing but empty nets to show for their night’s work. Early the next morning, Jesus appeared at the water’s edge, told the men to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, and once they did that, the net was so full, they could barely pull it in. Once the men realized it was Jesus, they were astonished; Peter, however, jumped into the water and swam to shore to see his Master. Impulsive . . . that was Peter. This same Peter walked on water, was witness to the transfiguration of Christ, and became an evangelist and a great leader in the early church. Peter was aggressive and spoke boldly about Christ and suffered persecution for his stand for Christ. Because of Christ, the loud and arrogant man known as Peter became the most humble of servants, willing to be obedient even in death. Day after day, he never stopped teaching and preaching about the risen Christ.

When You’ve Failed

What do you think when you read John 14:27 (NLT), “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”? Do you ever think “What peace of mind?” when you know how many times you’ve failed? Failed your family? Your friends? An exam? And–the one failure that stabs at your heart the most—failed your Lord? Does peace even enter your mind at times like these? Think about some of those mentioned in the Bible who failed—Moses, David, Saul. Yet they are included in the Bible, not so much for their failures as for how God still loved them, how He wanted them to have peace and how He still used them. Moses killed a man yet God chose him to lead His people to the Promised Land. David failed in some of the most serious sins recorded in the Old Testament, yet when He turned back to God, he became an ancestor of Jesus Christ who was often called the “Son of David.” Saul persecuted the Jews but repented and became Paul, a missionary who is credited with writing about half of the books in the New Testament. While our story of failure, redemption and peace isn’t recorded in the Bible, it is where others can see it and wonder at the peace we have. They will get a glimpse of who Jesus is in our life. Is there any better witness?