God's Peace vs. Calm Conditions

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
Luke 24:36-37

What an ironic statement. The disciples were precisely scared and frightened. They probably feared for their lives at the hands of the Jewish leaders. And now a man they thought was dead had just walked through the doors and appeared to them out of nowhere. They had every apparent reason to be afraid and feel no peace at all.

Yet that’s what Jesus proclaims to them.  I don’t think it’s because Jesus is insensitive. I actually think He’s just stating a matter of fact: He is now with them in the room. And so now peace is with them in their circumstances.

It’s interesting that the settings that we associate peace with are so different from what God associates peace with. For God, peace has nothing to do with the absence of a catalyst of fear. Instead, it has everything to do with the presence of Christ.

Peace isn’t a clear doctor’s report.
Peace isn’t when there’s no conflict in your marriage.
Peace isn’t absolute certainty about your future.

It’s the knowledge of the fact that Christ is with you even if the report comes back with news of cancer. That Christ is with you in the midst of tense moments in your marriage. That Christ is with you in your present, and He’s already waiting for you in your future.

God brings His peace into situations where we’re most afraid and most frightened, not where there is no fear or no trepidation. It’s in the moments when we need God’s peace most desperately that He supplies it most abundantly.

I think what we really want isn’t peace. It’s calm conditions. Unfortunately, Jesus never promised us that. He only promised us His presence:
Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

And it’s His presence that should fill us with peace in the midst of any unpeaceful circumstance we ever encounter.

 

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Steven Furtick
Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation Church meets at eight locations in the Charlotte area, as well as one location in Toronto, Canada. The church has been named one of the Fastest-Growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.