“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 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. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." John 14:25-28
Like many of you, my Saturday plans got thrown for a loop due to the torrential downpour that made its way through town. Secretly, I welcomed the rain because it meant I didn't have to go out Christmas shopping and encounter the frenzied crowds, long lines and packed parking lots. Instead, I spent my weekend enjoying some quiet time at home.
After numerous games of Go Fish, 21 and War, my daughter, Paige, and I began to build a tower out of the playing cards. With steady hands and a great deal of patience, our house of cards continued to rise floor by floor. A few times we'd make a wrong move, and the tower would sway a bit, but as we placed the final card on top, it seemingly stood strong.
Excited beyond belief, Paige urged her mom to come into the living room and check out her accomplishment. Only one problem: wherever Jenn goes, so does Tucker, our eighty-pound labradoodle. Tucker came bounding into the room, knocked into the table and CRASH! The tower came tumbling down.
Finding security through the things of this world is similar to putting all our faith in a house of cards. Worldly peace remains fragile and flimsy at best. We're told to build our lives on the foundation of our own ability, power, wisdom, and strength. Rely on no one, except ourselves.
For a while, this advice might appear to provide a firm foundation, but it only takes the slightest shift in our circumstances for the wobble to begin. If one card gets removed (family, health, possessions, recognition, etc.), our tidy little tower falls.
The crash can come from anywhere, at any time. It's not a matter of "if" we will face troubles and struggles, but "when." Disappointment reveals what we built our lives upon. Every foundation other than Christ is faulty. They don't provide the safety or stability needed to withstand the waves and the wind of this broken world.
Author and theologian C.S. Lewis says, "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
When our world comes crashing down, Christ is setting us up to experience more of His faithfulness. He is building trust within us. No matter our circumstances, an unshakeable peace, and an inner calm can define our heart. The Holy Spirit provides us with comfort and wisdom by reminding WHO we are and WHOSE we are.
We have an ace up our sleeves - one that is stable and secure. Christ's death brought us peace. Because we have peace with God, we have the power to experience and exhibit the peace of God. But, this requires a fight. It entails trusting in Christ and not our circumstances. It involves taking control of our emotions. It requires setting our sights on a greater hope. Peace is a gift, but we have to receive it.
Where do you find your heart being troubled? Where are you searching for peace?
How can you bring these places to Christ and trust in the peace He provides you?
God, chaos might surround me, but it doesn’t define me. Uncertainty might want to rattle me, but I stand on Your firm foundation. Fear might attempt to shake my bones, but You provide me peace. Thank you for giving me a sense of peace that passes all understanding. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.