I drove along the ocean a few days ago in what I suspect were hurricane-force winds. The river was already beginning to overflow its banks here and there along the highway. I have friends who just got the trees off their roof from two storms ago.
One storm after another has blown through this part of Alaska and high winds, flooding and power outages have taken over the evening news. The weather forecasters say there’s another storm headed our way. I’ve lost count…I think this might be number four-in-a-row?
As I write, there are bright holes in the clouds, but the winds are picking up. The power lines outside the post office were whistling frantically this afternoon. Rainbow ends glow against purple mountains in the distance. Dark clouds like bruises are rolling across the sky, purple and gray and a strange yellow.
We’re between storms.
I’ve felt that way before (and I’m not talking about the weather now) – just barely catching my breath from one storm, and here’s another one rolling in. One of the reasons it means so much that God squeezed Himself into a human body and walked around subject to the law of gravity like the rest of us is that when He talks to us about peace-in-the-midst, we know He knows what He’s talking about.
When Jesus said He was giving us His peace, He knew exactly what a priceless treasure it would be in life on this earth.
Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
Jesus said this in the middle of telling His closest friends that He was about to be betrayed, denied (by Peter), and that He would be leaving them. Jesus and His disciples were between storms and Jesus talks to them about…peace. And He could do that because He was at peace.
Peace isn’t necessarily the absence of the storm around me – it’s more about the absence of the storm within me.
When the Amplified Bible explains that Jesus is saying, “Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled,” I can feel the arrow hit its mark.
And when the bad news is still ringing in your ears and lightning strikes again, there is Jesus, right in the middle, in and between the storms with you, saying, “My own peace I now give and bequeath to you…” It doesn’t get any better than God’s own peace – the peace that took Jesus to the cross and the grave and beyond.