Peace Be With You!

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)

Is it not amazing how fear and despondency can change to peace and joy in the blinking of an eye when circumstances change? The phone call from someone that has been missing, the good lab report after a bad scare of a dreaded disease, the prodigal child returning at the doorstep seeking repentance, the wayward spouse wanting reunion–all of life is filled with these types of situations! Indeed, the proverb is true:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
(Proverbs 13:12)

But this longing is not just any kind of longing. It is a Biblical hope that clings to what we know to be true. It is not wishful thinking or a Pollyanna, pie in the sky, glib optimism. This longing is based on the truth of God’s Word. It rests solidly on the promises of the One who does not change no matter what our circumstances! A firm belief in God’s Word and His faithfulness and unchanging abundant love for us will keep us consistently even–particularly amidst trying and difficult situations.

“Many people owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.”
-Charles H. Spurgeon
This is not to say life will be easy or without harsh trials and tribulations. Yet as His children everything that happens to us has passed through His loving hands. He wants us to prove Him faithful during our fires. He desires for us to trust Him with our lives. We must choose to trust Him.

Biblical hope is the expectation that what has been promised will be fulfilled. God is good and loving all the time! But it is important to remember that God remains consistently and lovingly focused on our holiness and conformity to the image of His Son. He made us. He knows this is the ultimate way of life for us. That is the promise of Romans 8:28-29:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28-29)

“Could you ask for a better promise? It is better that all things should work for my good than all things should be as I would wish to have them. All things might work for my pleasure and yet might all work my ruin. If all things do not always please me, they will always benefit me. This is the best promise of this life.” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:35-39

In our verses for today, even though Jesus had told them exactly what would take place, the disciples seem to be clueless and full of anxiety–holed up in a locked room for fear of the Jews. Surely this is why our Lord enters their presence with the sweet word of “Peace”. The word itself means “tranquility, repose, calm, harmony, prosperity; it denotes a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible–New Testament Lexical Aids). It is a peace that is unearthly in its nature. Earlier in John, Jesus said to His disciples:

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 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)

Because of our union with Him, we too can experience this kind of peace! It is His desire for all of His followers to know a calm that comes from a heart that is too deeply rooted in God to be affected by the ups and downs of this life.

Take It to Heart

God often keeps testing us–seeking to get our attention. Remember: His ways are always aligned with our best interest even if we cannot readily perceive it.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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)

Hang on to God’s promises of peace–the wind will not always blow. God is always faithful to His Word.