“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.”
I was prepared to write on this passage and then I read an e-mail from someone who reads this devotional everyday. She asked for help with her crisis of faith. She has suffered the death of both of her children, one eighteen years ago and the other one just recently. Her e-mail touched my heart deeply and made me stop and consider what I would write about this passage. I could pretend I didn’t read her e-mail and be matter-of-fact or I could try to share something that is sensitive to her and the many others who have suffered unbearable pain. With the pain from such a loss I would be asking, “Jesus what are you talking about? Where is my peace of mind and heart?” But then I need to take Jesus words in the context they were written. Read the whole chapter and you will see that Jesus has just introduced a whole other reality. It was a cosmic introduction to the blending of this world and the next. Jesus was getting ready to go back to His father. He was about ready to face an unbearable death and spiritual suffering we cannot imagine. He was only moments from when He too would say, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” And yet, with deep empathy Jesus tells us, in the first verse of this chapter, not to be troubled because He was about to prepare another reality for us. It was obvious His disciples did not understand, so He tells them that He is going to give us the Holy Spirit to comfort us and help us in this world till we reach the next. And then Jesus shares today’s verse, “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.” He was right. The world cannot give us peace during our dark nights of the soul. Neither can religion. Only in blending this world and the next can we even begin to make any sense of our suffering here. Only in a larger reality can we find any peace in this dimension. Jesus came so we could live in both. I pray that today you will be able to have a glimpse of this world in light of the next and see that Jesus is the Lord of both. And may that reality begin a process of peace even in your darkest hour.
Dear Jesus, there are times when I ask, “Where is the peace in the darkest nights of the soul? Where is the comfort in such unbearable pain?” And, yet today I see that You who suffered such pain and anguish, has taken the harsh realities of this world and blended them the next life. Please help my heart live in both realities. Help me today begin to experience the peace that You are talking about.
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