How we long for peace in our lives, in our families, relationships, neighborhood and society! We continuously feel that there are certain things we need before we experience true peace and quiet. Sometimes we feel that we will never be settled until we get out of high school; then it will be getting out of college; then, getting a good paying job, getting married and having children. Then, it will be when the children are grown up and leave home; then, finally when we retire! The litany is endless because whenever peace is predicated on any external circumstance, it is bound to be unsustainable for a long time before something else offsets it. Underlying these circumstances that sustain our hope of true peace is some kind of anxiety about how it is going to turn out. So, in the end, we truly seek peace in these circumstances but we remain hopeful that nothing will take it away, such as a disappointing grade, difficulty to find a good job after college; an unhappy marriage or difficult children or even unforeseen sickness. Any of these things can so easily take our peace away. That is why the peace promised by the world is very fragile and like most things in life, very transient! Circumstances change every time, and so is the hope we repose in those circumstances, as the source of peace.
The peace of Jesus is not dependent on any external circumstance. The peace that Jesus offers us results from our personal relationship with him. His presence in our hearts is forever, and he assures us that he is in us as we are in him. It is the assurance of this permanent presence that is the true peace of disciples of Jesus. We can lose our hair and good health; family circumstances may change, and we may even lose our job or our good friendships. But in these circumstances, the Lord Jesus, present in our hearts, fills us with the conviction that ALL IS WELL! The Holy Spirit he sends into our hearts will remind us every day and in each moment that Our Lord is constantly with us. It is this constant reminder and attention to the assurance of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that helps us to be at peace in the midst of troubles and tribulations. After all, Jesus himself assures us before he left this world: “I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world” (Jn. 16:33). The peace that Jesus gives is not the fake peace of escape that avoids conflicts or truth; the peace of Jesus is not a life without pain or difficulty or disappointment. The peace of Jesus is the peace that derives from steadfastness in our personal relationship with him, because he has conquered the world! It is the peace that is steeped in the victory of Christ over all human problems and pain.
For the huge difference between the peace of the world and the one that Jesus offers, is clearly stated by Jesus himself to each of us, his disciples: “Peace I give you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” (Jn. 14:27).
May the peace of Jesus reign in your hearts and families so that you will remain steadfast in the midst of all the changes that you encounter in your life journey. Amen