“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Mic drop. I was reading yesterday in our Lent study (which has taken us through the book of John and cataloged Jesus’ life on earth), and I got to this verse and stopped.
Jesus shared these words with His disciples just a few chapters before He was nailed to the cross. He was preparing His disciples for a difficult time and knew they needed to experience peace.
The amazing thing about Jesus’ words is they transcend thousands of years and are still timely for us today. Peace. Jesus says He gives peace. And then follows that up with saying we do not need to be troubled or afraid. I think we all could soak in this encouragement during this season of quarantine.
Sometimes experiencing peace feels a lot harder to do than other times. And right now I’ve struggled to find peace in the midst of so much apprehension going on in the world. I find myself scrolling my newsfeed or checking my news app and then my mind shifts into panic mode.
I admit I have felt stressed when I have left the bubble of my house. Yesterday we ventured to Costco. I haven’t made a trip out to a store in a while and I could feel my anxiety level rise anticipating the trip. My mind began conjuring up theories of how we could possibly contract the virus just so we could get a package of TP.
Truthfully, being at the store didn’t produce peace. People wearing masks and gloves reminded me times are different right now. My sensitive heart could hardly handle the stress on everyone’s faces.
When I got back in the car after that trip I told the Lord that I needed Him to give me some peace because I couldn’t be so on edge like this for the next several months. I intellectually knew I didn’t need to panic, but it felt like that was how everyone was reacting, so maybe I should follow the trend. (Not exactly healthy, I know…)
And that is when the verse I read a few days earlier popped back in my head. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
I realized after my panicked errand yesterday that I need to be filling my mind and heart with truth to combat the fears that are rising within me. Like for instance, when I got home, I wrote the encouraging words of John 14 on my chalkboard in the kitchen to remind myself daily.
How about instead of feasting my mind on news and newsfeeds, I turn my eyes to what God says?
It is not lost on me that Jesus said He doesn’t give peace like the world gives. If we’re watching the news or scrolling our newsfeeds, we are told we will find peace when we are done sheltering in place or when a vaccine is made for COVID-19.
But can we find peace in the midst of a pandemic? Or a quarantine? Or the unknown?
Jesus says YES. He tells us to not let our hearts be troubled. Now, that doesn’t mean we never have concern. Or we don’t take appropriate precautions or educate ourselves. But I believe Jesus’ words are encouraging us to not live in fear. To not let the fear consume us. To keep a steady diet of truth.
For me to not let my heart be troubled, I’m going to try to fill myself up with what God says about peace. I have begun searching my Bible for encouraging verses that bring me peace. I wanted to share them with you too. When my fear kicks up in the days ahead, these are the words I am going to return to. What about you? What else would you add to this list?
Holding onto peace together,
- “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
- “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
- “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29
- Also a song I have been playing over and over: Peace Be Still by The Belonging Co.